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Poor housing and mental health in the United Kingdom: changing the focus for intervention

Journal of Environmental Health Research

Author: Page, A.
Type: Journal Article
Year: 2002


There has been a great deal of research carried out in the past on the physiological outcomes of health and housing, looking at such issues as accidents, asthma and other such indicators to assess whether certain types of housing present more risk to its' occupants health. Until recently, there has been very little comprehensive research on the psychological effects of poor housing, or indeed housing type on mental well-being. This paper examines the research that exists in this field and provides evidence of links between poor housing and its' detrimental impact on health; with particular emphasis on mental health of residents. It also provides evidence to support the view that provision of poor housing exacerbates mental health illnesses of those housed in such accommodation. The review will commence with an overview of the links between health and housing, before moving on to examine the context of poor housing together with an examination of the extent of the problem in the U.K. The review will then move on to explore the links between psychological ill health and housing. This will look at particular housing stressors such as overcrowding, dampness and multiple occupancy and the impact on personal well-being and the impact of poor housing on those already suffering from mental illness. The paper will also briefly explore the area of causation and drift hypotheses as an explanation of the high incidence of mental ill-health in multi-deprived areas. It finally calls for policy makers and housing practitioners to reconsider the focus of improvement schemes from one of predominantly physiological health gain, to one that would also enhance mental health.

Further Details

Pages: 31-40
Volume: 1
Issue: 1
Accession Number: September, 2011
Notes: Print discarded
Keywords: United Kingdom, housing improvement, policy compliance, health improvement
Reads: 212