Good quality, safe, and adequate housing is an important determinant of mental health. Adequate housing must have enough space to accommodate all who live there, be secure from intruders, safe from fire, heated adequately, and lacking hazards like damp or poisonous gasses (1). Further important aspects are housing tenure (e.g. renting or owning) and stability, which refers to feeling certainty regarding affording payments and having choice about whether and one wants to move (2).
Risk and/or Protective Factor
Good quality and safe housing is a protective factor for mental health and poor housing can contribute to mental health difficulties, especially if persistent (3–5).
In regard to housing tenure, people renting property are more likely to be affected by increased costs, which may result in poverty and lower mental health (6). Poor mental health was also observed in people with continuous exposure to social housing (7).
In terms of stability, unaffordable housing and inability to pay for heating have been linked to poor mental health (8-10).
1. The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (England) Regulations 2005 [Internet]. 3208 United Kingdom; 2005 p. 5–7. Available from: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2005/3208/pdfs/uksi_20053208_en.pdf
2. Atkinson A, Greer J. Increasing Financial Well-Being through Integration: Gaining and Sustaining Housing Stability. 2015.
3. UCL Institute of Health Equity. Voluntary Sector Action on the Social Determinants of Health [Internet]. London; 2017 [cited 2021 Jan 27]. Available from: www.instituteofhealthequity.org
4. Krieger J, Higgins DL. Housing and health: Time again for public health action [Internet]. Vol. 92, American Journal of Public Health. American Public Health Association Inc.; 2002 [cited 2021 Jan 26]. p. 758–68. Available from: /pmc/articles/PMC1447157/?report=abstract
5. Pevalin DJ, Reeves A, Baker E, Bentley R. The impact of persistent poor housing conditions on mental health: A longitudinal population-based study. Prev Med (Baltim). 2017 Dec 1;105:304–10.
6. Marmot M, Allen J, Boyce T, Goldblatt P, Morrison J. Health Equity in England: The Marmot Review 10 Years on. 2020.
7. Bentley R, Baker E, Simons K, Simpson JA, Blakely T. The impact of social housing on mental health: longitudinal analyses using marginal structural models and machine learning-generated weights. Int J Epidemiol [Internet]. 2018 Oct 1;47(5):1414–22. Available from: https://academic.oup.com/ije/article/47/5/1414/5045635
8. Bentley R, Baker E, Mason K, Subramanian S V., Kavanagh AM. Association between housing affordability and mental health: A longitudinal analysis of a nationally representative household survey in Australia. Am J Epidemiol [Internet]. 2011 Oct 1 [cited 2021 Jan 26];174(7):753–60. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21821543/
9. Marí-Dell’Olmo M, Novoa AM, Camprubí L, Peralta A, Vásquez-Vera H, Bosch J, et al. Housing Policies and Health Inequalities. Int J Heal Serv [Internet]. 2017 Apr 1;47(2):207–32. Available from: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0020731416684292
10. Dotsikas K, Osborn D, Walters K, Dykxhoorn J. Trajectories of housing affordability and mental health problems: a population-based cohort study. 2022 Jun 29;1-10. Available from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35767014/