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VULNERABILITY AND ENVIRONMENTAL STRESS OF OLDER ADULTS IN DEPRIVED NEIGHBOURHOODS IN THE NETHERLANDS

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Abstract:

ABSTRACT

Recent policy rests on the assumption that it is better for older people to live independently within the community for as long as possible. A related assumption is that the local community forms a supportive context for vulnerable older people; the environment can compensate the limitations resulting from growing old. However, Lawton's ‘environmental docility hypothesis’, in which the interaction between characteristics of the environment and a person's competence is described, forms a reason to be more careful with this assumption. In a survey of 1,939 Dutch older adults carried out in 2002–2003 this hypothesis is explored for older people living in deprived and non-deprived neighbourhoods. The results of the analysis seem to be in line with Lawton's hypothesis. In non-deprived neighbourhoods, no differences in environmental stress are found between vulnerable and non-vulnerable older adults, while in deprived neighbourhoods vulnerable older adults experience significantly higher levels of environmental stress than non-vulnerable older adults.

Keywords: Older adults; deprived neighbourhoods; environmental stress; feelings of safety; neighbourhood satisfaction; vulnerability

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9663.2008.00439.x

Affiliations: AMIDSt, Amsterdam institute for Metropolitan and International Development Studies, Nieuwe Prinsengracht 130, 1018 VZ Amsterdam. s: ; j.c.droogleeverfortuijn@uva.nl; j.f.c.m.thissen@uva.nl, Email: m.j.vandermeer@uva.nl

Publication date: 2008-02-01

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