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PLoS One. 2019 Jul 10;14(7):e0219540. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0219540. eCollection 2019.

Neighborhood features and depression in Mexican older adults: A longitudinal analysis based on the study on global AGEing and adult health (SAGE), waves 1 and 2 (2009-2014).

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Public Health Department, Universidad del Norte, Barranquilla, Atlántico, Colombia.
Public Health Department, Universidad Industrial de Santander, Bucaramanga, Santander, Colombia.
Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública, Cuernavaca, Morelos, México.
Spatial Epidemiology Lab, New York University School of Health, New York, New York, United States of America.


A growing body of literature shows that neighborhood characteristics influence older adults' mental health. Therefore, the aim of this study was to examine the association between structural and social characteristics of the neighborhood, and depression in Mexican older adults. A longitudinal study was conducted based on waves 1 (2009-2010) and 2 (2014) of the Mexican sample from the Study on global AGEing and adult health (SAGE). A street-network buffer around each participant's household was used to define neighborhood, so that built environment and social characteristics were assessed within it. Depression was ascertained by using an algorithm based on the Composite International Diagnostic Interview. In the analysis, multilevel logistic regression models were constructed separately for each built and social environments measurement, adjusted for socioeconomic, demographic and health-related covariates, and stratified by area of residence (urban versus rural). The results showed that a length of space between 15-45 meters restricted to vehicles was significantly associated with a lower risk of depression in older adults from the urban area (OR: 0.44; IC 95% 0.23-0.83) and the protective association appeared to be larger with increasing space with this restriction, although it lacked significance. Contrarily, the built environment measures were not predictive of depression in the rural setting. On the other hand, none of the variables from the social environment had a significant association, although safety appeared to behave as a risk factor in the overall (OR: 1.48; CI 95% 0.96-2.30; p = 0.08) and rural (OR: 3.44; CI 95% 0.95-12.45; p = 0.06) samples, as it reached marginal significance. Research about neighborhood effects on older adults' mental health is an emergent field that has shown that depression might be treated not only from the individual-level, but also from the neighborhood-level. Additionally, further research is needed, especially in low- and middle-income countries, to help guide neighborhood policies.

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