The Sociospatial Context of Cardiovascular Risk: The Relationship between Neighborhood Crime Rates and Blood Pressure

Christopher Browning, Ohio State University
Kathleen A. Cagney, University of Chicago

We consider the neighborhood context of cardiovascular risk, employing data from the 2000-2002 Dallas Heart Study. Developing a model of the link between neighborhood socioeconomic disadvantage, crime rates and allostatic load, we test the specific hypothesis that neighborhood assault rates influence blood pressure. We address concerns regarding causality by considering multilevel models estimating the effect of both absolute neighborhood assault rates and changes in the assault rate on short-term changes in blood pressure. Findings indicate that changes in the assault rate between 1999 and 2000 are positively associated with systolic and diastolic blood pressure (including changes in these measures between Demographic and Health Survey visits), but only for women. Moreover, neighborhood crime rates account for a nontrivial proportion of disparity in blood pressure between African American and white women. Neighborhood assault rates are not associated with blood pressure for men.

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Presented in Session 83: Community and Neighborhood Influences on Health and Mortality