The Acute Effect of Exposure to Neighborhood Crime on Mental Health of Older Individuals in Bogotá, Colombia

Philipp Hessel , Universidad de los Andes
Jorge Cuartas, Harvard University

The aim of this study was to assess the effects of acute exposure to different forms of neighborhood violence on mental health of older individuals in Bogotá, Colombia, by using a quasi-experimental approach that exploits spatial as well as temporal variation in objectively recorded criminal incidents relative to individuals’ residence and time of interview. The detailed and objective information on the occurrence of different violent crimes within neighborhoods makes it possible to assess the effects of those different crimes on mental health to assess what type of crimes are most detrimental for mental health of older individuals. Furthermore, the linkage between objective geo- and time-referenced crime data with rich individual and household data from the 2015 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) in Colombia also allows us to test potential factors that may either exacerbate vulnerability to exposure to violent crimes, or make individuals more resilient to such shocks.

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 Presented in Session 26. Flash Session: Neighborhood Processes in Health