Crime Load and Mental Health Decline: Longitudinal Evidence from the Mexican Family Life Survey

Facundo Cuevas, University of California, Los Angeles
Luis Rubalcava, University of California, Los Angeles and Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE)
Graciela M. Teruel, University of California, Los Angeles and Universidad Iberoamericana

The literature on crime and victims’ mental health provides descriptive evidence of the association between the two, but there is very little causal evidence on the effect of victimization on individual health. We contribute to filling this gap using nationally representative, longitudinal data from the Mexican Family Life Survey to examine the impact of victimization on mental health status of the population. We find evidence that crime poses a significant burden on several dimensions of health. Among asymptomatic individuals, victims are more likely than non-victims to develop an anxiety disorder. Symptoms that were absent before victimization, such as frequent nervousness, fear, pessimism, obsessiveness, headaches, and chest pain, tend to appear after it. Impacts vary across genders—females seem to endure a harder impact on mental health, being significantly more likely than males to start exhibiting anxiety symptomathology following crime.

  See paper

Presented in Session 51: Population Perspectives on Mental Health