Neighborhood environment perception (NEP) has been associated with health outcomes. However, little is known about how NEP relates to routine healthcare utilization. This study investigated the relationship between NEP and independent subfactors with healthcare utilization behavior, as measured by self-reported (1) usual source of healthcare and (2) time since last routine healthcare check-up. We used cross-sectional data from the Dallas Heart Study, which features a diverse, probability-based sample of Dallas County residents ages 18 to 65. We used logistic regression modeling to examine the association of self-reported NEP and routine healthcare utilization. NEP was assessed via a questionnaire exploring residents’ neighborhood perceptions, including violence, the physical environment, and social cohesion. Routine healthcare utilization was assessed via self-reported responses regarding usual source of care and time since last routine healthcare check-up. The analytic sample (N = 1706) was 58% black, 27% white, 15% Hispanic, 42% male, and had a mean age of 51 (SD = 10.3). Analysis of NEP by tertile demonstrated that younger age, lower income, and lower education were associated with unfavorable overall NEP (p trend <0.05 for each). After adjustment for potential confounders, including neighborhood deprivation, health insurance, disease burden and psychosocial factors, we found that individuals with more unfavorable perception of their physical environment were more likely to report lack of a usual source of care (p = 0.013). Individuals with more unfavorable perception of the neighborhood physical environment or greater neighborhood violence reported longer time periods since last routine visit (p = 0.001, p = 0.034 respectively). There was no relationship between perceived social cohesion and healthcare utilization. Using a multi-ethnic cohort, we found that NEP significantly associates with report of a usual source of care and time since last routine check-up. Our findings suggest that public health professionals should prioritize improving NEP since it may act as barrier to routine preventive healthcare and ideal health outcomes.
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