Micro-scale environment and mental health in later life: results from the Cognitive Function and Ageing Study II (CFAS II)
Journal of Affective Disorders
Elsevier for International Society for Affective Disorders
Open access funded by Medical Research Council. Under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Background Poor micro-scale environmental features, such as graffiti and broken windows, have been associated with crime and signs of social disorder with a potential impact on mental health. The aim of this study is to investigate the association between micro-scale environment and mental health problems in later life, including cognitive (cognitive impairment and dementia) and common mental disorders (depressive and anxiety symptoms). Methods The method of visual image audits was used to collect micro-scale environmental data for 3590 participants in the Cognitive Function and Ageing Study II, a population-based multicentre cohort of people aged 65 or above in England. Multilevel logistic regression was used to examine the associations between the quality of micro-scale environment and mental health problems taking into account urban/rural difference. Results Poor quality of micro-scale environment was associated with nearly 20% increased odds of depressive (OR: 1.19; 95%CI: 0.99, 1.44) and anxiety symptoms (OR: 1.17; 95%CI: 0.99, 1.38) while the direction of association for cognitive disorders differed across urban and rural settings. Although higher odds of cognitive disorders were found in rural settings, living in a poor quality environment was associated with nearly twice higher odds of cognitive impairment (OR: 1.88; 95%CI: 1.18, 2.97) in urban conurbations but 20% lower odds in rural areas (OR: 0.80; 95%CI: 0.57, 1.11). Limitations The causal direction could not be fully determined due to the cross-sectional nature of the data. The visual nature of the environmental assessment tool means it likely does not fully capture features related to the availability of local support services, or opportunities for social participation and interaction. Conclusions The quality of micro-scale environment appears to be important to mental health in older people. Interventions may incorporate the environmental aspect to reduce cognitive and common mental disorders.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Elsevier via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 218, pp. 359–364