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Neighborhood stressors and cardiovascular health: Crime and C-reactive protein in Dallas, USA


  • Browning, Christopher R.
  • Cagney, Kathleen A.
  • Iveniuk, James


We apply neighborhood-based theories of social organization and environmental stress to examine variation in a key indicator of inflammation-related cardiovascular risk—C-reactive protein (CRP). Specifically, we emphasize the potentially health-compromising role of rapid increases in the crime rate or “crime spikes” (focusing on a particularly fear-inducing crime – burglary). We also consider the extent to which the magnitude and significance of the association between burglary rate change and inflammatory processes varies by gender. Data on CRP, neighborhood of residence, and individual-level characteristics for adult women and men ages 30–65 are drawn from the 2000–2002 Dallas Heart Study. Results from neighborhood fixed effects models using piecewise linear splines to estimate short-term burglary rate change effects offer support for the hypothesis that crime spikes are associated with CRP. Specifically, we find that short-term burglary rate change is independently associated with CRP for men. Short-term burglary rate change was not associated with CRP for women. These findings shed light on the contextual processes that influence cardiovascular health and point to the potentially important role of short-term changes in environmental stressors in shaping health outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Browning, Christopher R. & Cagney, Kathleen A. & Iveniuk, James, 2012. "Neighborhood stressors and cardiovascular health: Crime and C-reactive protein in Dallas, USA," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(7), pages 1271-1279.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:75:y:2012:i:7:p:1271-1279
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.03.027

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sundquist, Kristina & Theobald, Holger & Yang, Min & Li, Xinjun & Johansson, Sven-Erik & Sundquist, Jan, 2006. "Neighborhood violent crime and unemployment increase the risk of coronary heart disease: A multilevel study in an urban setting," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(8), pages 2061-2071, April.
    2. repec:aph:ajpbhl:10.2105/ajph.2007.125138_5 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Schafer, Joseph A. & Huebner, Beth M. & Bynum, Timothy S., 2006. "Fear of crime and criminal victimization: Gender-based contrasts," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 285-301.
    4. Mishra, Sandeep & Lalumière, Martin, 2009. "Is the crime drop of the 1990s in Canada and the USA associated with a general decline in risky and health-related behavior?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 39-48, January.
    5. Zick, Cathleen D. & Smith, Ken R. & Fan, Jessie X. & Brown, Barbara B. & Yamada, Ikuho & Kowaleski-Jones, Lori, 2009. "Running to the Store? The relationship between neighborhood environments and the risk of obesity," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 69(10), pages 1493-1500, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Amber Pearson & Gregory Breetzke, 2014. "The Association Between the Fear of Crime, and Mental and Physical Wellbeing in New Zealand," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 119(1), pages 281-294, October.


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