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Advisory Committee Chair

Mark E Lagory

Advisory Committee Members

Casey Borch

Patricia Drentea

Julie Locher

Patricia Sawyer

Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2011

Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

Persons who are aging face an increased risk of adverse health events and decreased levels of personal competencies, potentially inhibiting their ability to age in place. Sometimes, nursing home placement (NHP) may be imperative, especially if persons experience environmental docility-- an incongruence of their physical capacity with their environment. This study links the neighborhood disadvantage literature with Lawton's environmental press and environmental docility theories to examine how the environment interacts with individual level variables to impact likelihood of NHP. Findings suggest that there is not a direct link between living in a disadvantaged context and likelihood of NHP, but that persons in highly disadvantaged contexts are more sensitive to physical impairments as a predictor of NHP than persons in less disadvantaged contexts. These outcomes highlight the importance of environment for older adults' ability to age in place and the effectiveness of linking Lawton's theories of the environment and the neighborhood disadvantage literature for assessing health-related outcomes.

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