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Purpose: This study examines associations between neighborhood socioeconomic disadvantage and self-reported type 2 diabetes and heart disease, occurring separately and concurrently at a single time point (comorbidity).

Methods: This study included 11,035 residents from 200 neighborhoods in Brisbane, Australia. Respondents self-reported type 2 diabetes and heart disease as long-term health conditions. Neighborhood socioeconomic disadvantage was measured using a census-derived composite index. Individual socioeconomic position was measured using education, occupation, and household income. Data were analyzed using multilevel multinomial mixed-effects logistic regression using Markov chain Monte Carlo simulation.

Results: Compared with the most advantaged neighborhoods, residents of the most-disadvantaged neighborhoods were more likely to report type 2 diabetes (odds ratio [OR] = 2.21, 95% credible interval [CrI] = 1.55–3.15), heart disease (OR = 1.72, 95% CrI = 1.25–2.38), and comorbidity (OR = 4.38, 95% CrI = 2.27–8.66). This relationship attenuated after adjustment for individual-level socioeconomic position, but remained statistically significant for type 2 diabetes (OR = 1.81, 95% CrI = 1.15–2.83) and comorbidity (OR = 3.00, 95% CrI = 1.49–6.13).

Conclusions: Studies of neighborhood disadvantage that fail to include individual-level socioeconomic measures may inflate associations. Establishing why residents of disadvantaged neighborhoods are more likely to experience the co-occurrence of heart disease and type 2 diabetes independent of their individual socioeconomic position warrants further investigation.


Institute for Health and Ageing

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Journal Article

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