Objectives: Drawing from collective efficacy and social disorganization theories, we developed and validated measures of neighborhood-level social processes.
Methods: Data came from 2 large, population-based cohort studies of urban-dwelling older adults, the Chicago Neighborhood and Disability Study (CNDS, n = 3,882) and the Baltimore Memory Study (BMS, n = 1,140). Data on neighborhood social processes were collected from residents using a standardized instrument identical in the 2 studies. We used confirmatory factor analysis and descriptive statistics to explore reliability and validity of the neighborhood-level measures.
Results: Confirmatory factor analysis indicated 2 latent factors: social cohesion and exchange (i.e., observations of and interactions with neighbors) and social and physical disorder (i.e., neighborhood problems and unsafe conditions). Neighborhood-level measures of cohesion and disorder showed moderate to high levels of internal consistency (alphas = .78 and .85 in CNDS and .60 and .88 in BMS). Inter-resident agreements were low (intra-neighborhood correlation coefficients = .08 and .11 in CNDS and .05 and .33 in BMS). Cohesion showed a modest, positive association with a composite measure of neighborhood socioeconomic status (SES). Disorder showed a strong, negative association with neighborhood SES.
Conclusions: Findings provide initial evidence of the reliability and construct validity of these neighborhood-level social process measures.