Neighborhood deprivation and psychiatric medication prescription: a Swedish national multilevel study

Ann Epidemiol. 2011 Apr;21(4):231-7. doi: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2011.01.005.


Purpose: Previous studies of neighborhood deprivation and mental disorders have yielded mixed results, possibly because they were based on different substrata of the population. We conducted a national multilevel study to determine whether neighborhood deprivation is independently associated with psychiatric medication prescription in a national population.

Methods: Nationwide outpatient and inpatient psychiatric medication data were analyzed for all Swedish adults (N = 6,998,075) after 2.5 years of follow-up. Multilevel logistic regression was used to estimate the association between neighborhood deprivation (index of education, income, unemployment, and welfare assistance) and prescription of psychiatric medications (antipsychotics, antidepressants, anxiolytics, or hypnotics/sedatives), after adjusting for broadly measured individual-level sociodemographic characteristics.

Results: For each psychiatric medication class, a monotonic trend of increasing prescription was observed by increasing level of neighborhood deprivation. The strongest associations were found for antipsychotics and anxiolytics, with adjusted odds ratios of 1.40 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.36-1.44) and 1.24 (95% CI, 1.22-1.27), respectively, comparing the highest- to the lowest-deprivation neighborhood quintiles.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that neighborhood deprivation is associated with psychiatric medication prescription independent of individual-level sociodemographic characteristics. Further research is needed to elucidate the mechanisms by which neighborhood deprivation may affect mental health and to identify the most susceptible groups in the population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Drug Prescriptions / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multilevel Analysis
  • Odds Ratio
  • Psychotropic Drugs*
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Psychotropic Drugs