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Public Health and Fear of Crime: A Prospective Cohort Study

NCJ Number
British Journal of Criminology Volume: 49 Issue: 6 Dated: November 2009 Pages: 832-847
Date Published
November 2009
16 pages

This paper examines the association of health and fear of crime.


Results found a robust association of mental and physical health that links poor health with increased fear of crime. Because the findings were based on longitudinal analysis of health indictors measured up to 5 years before indicators of worry, the temporal sequence of poor health preceding worry was established, at least amongst the sample of individuals 44 and above. Both mental and physical health appear to contribute independently to greater worry, supporting the idea that physical frailty can increase worry about crime and also highlight heightened worry as one burden of common mental disorder. A feedback model is proposed in which there is a core worry about crime that harms health, which in turn, maintains or elevates levels of emotional response to crime. The challenge for future research is to develop a model of the fear of crime that more accurately captures the experiential and expressive features that characterize this social phenomenon. Data were collected from 10,308 London-based civil servants aged 35- to 55-years old using the first 7 phases of the Whitehall II study. Tables, figures, and references

Date Published: November 1, 2009