Neighborhood effects on physical and mental health: A study of Korean American older adults

Kyung Hwa Kwag, Yuri Jang, Sung Han Rhew, David A. Chiriboga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


This study explored how the physical and mental health of Korean American older adults were influenced by neighborhood characteristics (i.e., proportion of individuals living below the poverty level, proportion of individuals 65 years of age and older, and proportion of racial/ethnic minorities in the census block groups where each respondent lived). Health perceptions (i.e., the subjective appraisal of one's own health) and depressive symptoms were used as indicators of physical and mental health. Multilevel analyses were performed with 567 individuals (at Level 1) nested within 233 census block groups (at Level 2). After controlling for individual demographic and health characteristics, we found that neighborhood poverty predicted health perceptions. The results add to the growing literature on the influence of the social environment and suggest that neighborhood characteristics should be taken into consideration in developing community-based policies for racially/ethnically diverse populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-100
Number of pages10
JournalAsian American Journal of Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2011


  • depression
  • health perception
  • Korean American
  • multilevel analysis
  • neighborhood


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