Urban Neighborhoods and Depressive Symptoms in Late Middle Age

Richard G. Wight, Michelle J Ko, Carol S. Aneshensel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


This study examines associations between multiple urban neighborhood characteristics (socioeconomic disadvantage, affluence, and racial/ethnic composition) and depressive symptoms among late middle aged persons and compares findings to those previously obtained for persons age 70 years and older. Survey data are from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a U.S. national probability sample of noninstitutionalized persons aged 51 to 61 years in 1992. Neighborhoods are 1990 U.S. census tracts. Hierarchical linear regression is used to estimate multilevel models. Depressive symptoms vary significantly across urban neighborhoods among late middle age persons. Neighborhood socioeconomic disadvantage is significantly associated with depressive symptoms, net of both individual-level sociodemographic and health variables. However, this association is contingent upon individual-level wealth in that persons with low wealth in the most disadvantaged neighborhoods report the most depressive symptoms. Unlike findings for older adults for whom neighborhood effects appear to be entirely compositional in nature, neighborhood context matters to subgroups of late middle age adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-50
Number of pages23
JournalResearch on Aging
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • depressive symptoms
  • Health and Retirement Study
  • neighborhood context
  • socioeconomic status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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