Latham, K. & Williams, M. M. (2015). “Does neighborhood disorder predict recovery from mobility limitation? Findings from the Health and Retirement Study.” Advance access at Journal of Aging and Health.
Recent research highlights the importance of neighborhood disorder for recovery from mobility limitation (i.e., difficulty walking and climbing stairs). Older adults who reported higher levels of neighborhood disorder (i.e., graffiti/vandalism, vacant/deserted homes, litter, and crime) were less likely to recover from mobility limitation. However, physical activity and psychosocial factors were significant mediators, which suggests neighborhood disorder influences recovery from physical impairment via psychosocial processes and barriers to physical activity.
Reducing neighborhood disorder may enhance older residents’ psychosocial well-being and improve participation in physical activity, thus increasing recovery from mobility limitation and preventing subsequent disability.
WalletHub has created a list of the best and worst cities for people with disabilities. They reached out to me and other researchers to weigh in on financial and non-financial advice for residents with disabilities.
2014′s Best & Worst Cities for People with Disabilities
My responses can be found at the bottom of the webpage or by clicking “Ask the Experts” link. I focused my answers on the advantages of walkable communities because the policies that would directly benefit residents with disabilities would benefit all members of the community. Safe and walkable environments help promote the health and wellbeing of whole communities.
Co-author, Amelia Karraker (University of Michigan), recently presented our preliminary findings regarding illness and risk of divorce at the Population Association of America (PAA) 2014 Annual Meeting. Our research suggests that, among older married couples, there is an elevated risk of divorce following wives’ onset of a serious illness (i.e., heart disease, cancer, stroke, or lung disease). The University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research provides a nice summary of our preliminary findings in a news release (written by Diane Swanbrow), ‘Til sickness do us part: How illness affects the risk of divorce.
Our research was recently featured in multiple news outlets including The Huffington Post, Today, TIME, US News, Science World Report, and Medical Daily.
Latham, K. (2014). Racial and educational disparities in mobility limitation among older women: What is the role of modifiable risk factors? The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Social Science. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbu028
My recent publication examines whether modifiable risk factors such as smoking status, participation in vigorous physical activity, or body mass index mediates or moderates racial and educational disparities in mobility limitation (i.e., difficulty walking or climbing stairs) among older women. Body mass index was a significant partial mediator for race and mobility limitation–suggesting that higher levels of body mass index among older Black women, relative to older White women, contributes to excess mobility impairment. Another interesting finding highlights racial variation in the effect of modifiable risk factors on mobility limitation; the benefit of vigorous physical activity for preventing mobility limitation varied by race. Physical activity among older Black women was not as advantageous for preventing mobility limitation compared with older White women.
Two recent publications highlight potential disparities among individuals with disabilities in childhood and young adulthood. Those aging with disability may experience greater socioeconomic disadvantage, poorer self-rated health, and higher levels of depressive symptoms in later life. (Clarke & Latham, 2014; Latham, 2014). Individuals with early-onset of disability often have increased barriers to socioeconomic achievement, which may lead to fewer opportunities to manage the underlying condition(s). These publications underscore the importance of viewing disability with a life course lens.
Clarke, P. J. & Latham, K. (2014). Life course health and social economic profiles of Americans aging with disability. Disability and Health Journal, 7, 1, S15-S23.
Latham, K. (2014). The “long arm” of childhood health: Linking childhood disability to late midlife mental health. Research on Aging. Advance online publication.
Dr. Kenzie Latham recently joined the Department of Sociology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). Fall 2013 is in full swing at IUPUI, and Dr. Latham is excited to be back in the classroom and to be an IUPUI Jag!