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Continuity and Change in Relationships with Neighbors: Implications for Psychological Well-being in Middle and Later Life

Emily Greenfield and Laurent Reyes

Journal of Gerontology, Series B
June 2014
Objectives. There is growing enthusiasm for community initiatives that aim to strengthen neighbor relationships to promote well-being in later life. Nevertheless, few studies have examined the extent to which relationships with neighbors are associated with better psychological well-being among midlife and older adults.
Methods. We used data from 1,071 noninstitutionalized, English-speaking adults, aged 4070 years, who participated in both waves of the 19952005 National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States. Lagged dependent regression models were estimated to examine associations between changes in two dimensions of neighbor relationships (contact and perceived support) and psychological well-being.
Results. Few associations were found between relationships with neighbors and negative or positive affect. In contrast, having continuously low levels of contact with neighbors, or losing contact with neighbors over the 10-year study period, was associated with declining levels of eudaimonic well-being. Associations between contact and this aspect of well-being were explained, in part, by less perceived support from neighbors.
Discussion. Results suggest that continuity and change in relationships with neighbors is especially important for more developmental aspects of psychological well-being. Implications for future research on the meaning of neighbor relationships and aging in community are discussed.

Emily A. Greefield and Laurent Reyes. (2014). "Continuity and Change in Relationships with Neighbors: Implications for Psychological Well-being in Middle and Later Life." Journal of Gerontology, Series B.



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