Mean Streets and Mental Health: Depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder at Crime Hot Spots.


Journal Article

This study explores the relationship between mental health and place at microgeographic units of analysis. We examine self-reported symptomology for depression and PTSD for 2,724 survey respondents interviewed in three types of randomly selected street segments: violent crime hot spots, cool spots, and cold spots. We find that the mean symptomology score is 61% higher for depression in violent crime hot spots than cold spots, and 85% higher for PTSD. Overall, we estimate that 14.8% of residents of violent crime hot spots meet thresholds for moderate depression or a diagnosis of PTSD. This can be compared to only 6.5% of residents at the cold spots. Using PSM and weighted negative binomial regression approaches we show that observable selection factors are not responsible for the relationships identified. Examining geographic influences, we find an important area effect of violent crime for both mental health measures, and an additional impact of the specific street of residence for PTSD.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Weisburd, D; Cave, B; Nelson, M; White, C; Haviland, A; Ready, J; Lawton, B; Sikkema, K

Published Date

  • June 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 61 / 3-4

Start / End Page

  • 285 - 295

PubMed ID

  • 29512822

Pubmed Central ID

  • 29512822

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1573-2770

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0091-0562

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/ajcp.12232


  • eng