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Neighborhood crime and psychotropic medications : a longitudinal data linkage study of 130,000 Scottish adults.

Baranyi, Gergő and Cherrie, Mark and Curtis, Sarah and Dibben, Chris and Pearce, Jamie R. (2020) 'Neighborhood crime and psychotropic medications : a longitudinal data linkage study of 130,000 Scottish adults.', American journal of preventive medicine., 58 (5). pp. 638-647.


Introduction: Although neighborhood crime has been associated with mental health problems, longitudinal research utilizing objective measures of small-area crime and mental health service use is lacking. This study examines how local crime is associated with newly prescribed psychotropic medications in a large longitudinal sample of Scottish adults and explores whether the relationships vary between sociodemographic groups. Methods: Data from the Scottish Longitudinal Study, a 5.3% representative sample of the population, were linked with police-recorded crime in 2011 for residential locality and with psychotropic medications from 2009 to 2014, extracted from the prescription data set of National Health Service Scotland. Individuals receiving medication during the first 6 months of observation were excluded; the remaining sample was followed for 5.5 years. Covariate-adjusted, multilevel mixed-effects logistic models estimated associations between area crime and prescriptions for antidepressants, antipsychotics, and anxiolytics (analyzed in 2018–2019). Results: After adjustment for individual and neighborhood covariates, findings on 129,945 adults indicated elevated risk of antidepressant (OR=1.05, 95% CI=1.00, 1.10) and antipsychotic (OR=1.20, 95% CI=1.03, 1.39), but not anxiolytic (OR=0.99, 95% CI=0.93, 1.05) medication in high-crime areas. Crime showed stronger positive association with antidepressants among individuals (especially women) aged 24–53 years in 2009 and with antipsychotics among men aged 44–53 years in 2009. Skilled workers and people from lower nonmanual occupations had increased risk of medications in high-crime areas. Conclusions: Local crime is an important predictor of mental health, independent of individual and other contextual risk factors. Place-based crime prevention and targeting vulnerable groups may have benefits for population mental health.

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Publisher statement:© 2020 American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Published by ElsevierInc. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license(
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:23 April 2020
Date of first online publication:12 March 2020
Date first made open access:23 April 2020

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