BACKGROUND: Research evidence on the association between neighbourhood characteristics and individual mental health at older ages is inconsistent, possibly due to heterogeneity in the measurement of mental-health outcomes, neighbourhood characteristics and confounders. Register-based data enabled us to avoid these problems in this longitudinal study on the associations between socioeconomic and physical neighbourhood characteristics and individual antidepressant use in three national contexts. METHODS: We used register-based longitudinal data on the population aged 50+ from Turin (Italy), Stockholm (Sweden), and the nine largest cities in Finland linked to satellite-based land-cover data. This included individual-level information on sociodemographic factors and antidepressant use, and on neighbourhood socioeconomic characteristics, levels of urbanicity, green space and land-use mix (LUM). We assessed individual-level antidepressant use over 6 years in 2001-2017 using mixed-effects logistic regression. RESULTS: A higher neighbourhood proportion of low-educated individuals predicted lower odds for antidepressant use in Turin and Stockholm when individual-level sociodemographic factors were controlled for. Urbanicity predicted increased antidepressant use in Stockholm (OR=1.02; 95% CI 1.01 to 1.03) together with more LUM (OR=1.03; 1.01-1.05) and population density (OR=1.08; 1.05-1.10). The two latter characteristics also predicted increased antidepressant use in the Finnish cities (OR=1.05; 1.02-1.08 and OR=1.14; 1.02-1.28, respectively). After accounting for all studied neighbourhood and individual characteristics of the residents, the neighbourhoods still varied by odds of antidepressant use. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, the associations of neighbourhood socioeconomic and physical characteristics with older people's antidepressant use were small and inconsistent. However, we found modest evidence that dense physical urban environments predicted higher antidepressant use among older people in Stockholm and the Finnish cities.

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Keywords access to hlth care, ageing, cohort studies, demography, depression, epidemiology, geography, gis, health behaviour, health inequalities, health services, inequalities, marital status, mental health, Mortality, neighborhood/place, public health, registers, social epidemiology, social inequalities, socio-economic
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Journal Journal of epidemiology and community health
Tarkiainen, L. (Lasse), Moustgaard, H. (Heta), Korhonen, K. (Kaarina), Noordzij, J.M. (J Mark), Beenackers, M.A, van Lenthe, F.J, … Martikainen, P. (2020). Association between neighbourhood characteristics and antidepressant use at older ages: a register-based study of urban areas in three European countries. Journal of epidemiology and community health. doi:10.1136/jech-2020-214276