A longitudinal analysis of violence and healthcare service utilization in Mexico

Vargas, Laura X.; Richmond, Therese S.; Allen, Heidi L.; Meisel, Zachary F.

We analyze the degree to which community violence in Mexico, largely due to organized crime violence, affects health care service utilization.

This study exploits temporal and geographic variation in monthly county-level homicide rates, matching outpatient service utilization from individual longitudinal measures. Sensitivity analyses test for an age specific concentration of violence, respiratory conditions that are likely unrelated to violence, insurance status and health center availability per capita. We test for distributional responses to violence by urban and rural localities.

The likelihood of service utilization increases by 5.2% with each additional homicide per 100,000. When we include self-reported health conditions in the model, our main coefficient remains significant at 4.5%. We find no added effect to our results from interaction terms for age specific concentration of violence, respiratory conditions, insurance status, or health center availability. A substantial increase of 11.7% in the likelihood of service utilization occurs in localities with > = 100,000 inhabitants, suggesting that service utilization is sensitive to the location of violence.

Results highlight the relationship between and increase in violence at the local level and an increase in health care service utilization. This study is among the first to examine this relationship empirically in Mexico. Future research is needed to shed more light on this relationship and its mechanisms.

Geographic Areas


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Also Published In

International Journal for Equity in Health

More About This Work

Published Here
December 20, 2022


Violence, Health service utilization, Health services, Longitudinal, Mexico