Neighbourhood deprivation, local crime and prescription for mental health problems in Scotland

Authors: Gergo Baranyi*, , Jamie Pearce, Centre for Research on Environment, Society and Health (CRESH), School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh, Chris Dibben, Centre for Research on Environment, Society and Health (CRESH), School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh, Sarah Curtis, Geography Department, Durham University and Centre for Research on Environment, Society and Health (CRESH), School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Geography and Urban Health, Population Geography
Keywords: neighbouhrood, local crime, mental health, medication, longitudinal
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Tyler, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Although a growing body of research indicates that places, where people live might affect mental health, the association has been overwhelmingly proven in cross-sectional investigations and by using subjective measures of exposure. The aim of this study was to explore the longitudinal associations between neighbourhood level crime and mental health. We draw data from the Scottish Longitudinal Study, a census-based nationally representative 5.3% sample of the Scottish population. Anonymized data for over 150,000 community dwelling individuals were included, who were older than 16 at the 2001 census. The primary outcomes were prescriptions for antidepressant, anxiolytics and antipsychotic medications derived from the Prescription Information System (NHS Scotland) between 2009 and 2015. Based on the participant’s place of residence in 2011, individual data were linked with data zone level (populations of ~500-1000 per zone) information on police reported crime and income deprivation, both ranked into three equal groups (low, middle and high). Cox proportional hazards models were applied to estimate the effect of local crime on the risk of new cases of prescription for mental health problems. Preliminarily findings indicated elevated risk of prescription in areas with higher crime rates, even after adjustment for individual and neighbourhood level factors. Further analysis will explore the interactions between crime and income deprivation, by taking into account different age groups (young, middle and late adulthood). Neighbourhood environment is potentially modifiable; neighbourhood-based intervention, especially those reducing crime and violence in residential areas might contribute to better mental health of people living in those areas.

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