Neighbourhood features have been postulated as key predictors of frailty. However, evidence is mainly limited to cross-sectional studies without indication of long-term impact. We explored how neighbourhood social deprivation (NSD) across the life course is associated with frailty and frailty progression among older Scottish adults. Participants (n=323) were from the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 with historical measures of NSD in childhood (1936-1955), young adulthood (1956-1975), and mid-to-late adulthood (1976-2014). Frailty was measured five times between the ages of 70 and 82 years using the Frailty Index. Confounder-adjusted life-course models were assessed using a structured modelling approach; associations were estimated for frailty at baseline using linear regression, and for frailty progression using linear mixed-effects models. Accumulation was the most appropriate life-course model for males; greater accumulated NSD was associated with higher frailty at baseline (b=0.017; 95%CI: 0.005-0.029). Among females, mid-to-late adulthood sensitive period was the best-fit life-course model and higher NSD in this period was associated with widening frailty trajectories (b=0.005; 95%CI: 0.0004-0.009). This is the first investigation of the life-course impact of neighbourhood deprivation on frailty in a cohort of older adults. Policies designed to address neighbourhood deprivation and inequalities across the full life course may support healthy ageing.
- life-course approach
- neighbourhood deprivation
- structured life-course modelling