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Is Housing a Health Insult?

School of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Adelaide, Adelaide 5005, Australia
University of South Australia Business School, Adelaide 5000, Australia
School of Health and Human Sciences, University of Essex, Colchester CO4 3SQ, UK
Department of Economics, London School of Economics and Political Science, London WC2A 2AE, UK
Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne 3010, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(6), 567;
Received: 22 March 2017 / Revised: 12 May 2017 / Accepted: 19 May 2017 / Published: 26 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Housing and Health)
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In seeking to understand the relationship between housing and health, research attention is often focussed on separate components of people’s whole housing ‘bundles’. We propose in this paper that such conceptual and methodological abstraction of elements of the housing and health relationship limits our ability to understand the scale of the accumulated effect of housing on health and thereby contributes to the under-recognition of adequate housing as a social policy tool and powerful health intervention. In this paper, we propose and describe an index to capture the means by which housing bundles influence health. We conceptualise the index as reflecting accumulated housing ‘insults to health’—an Index of Housing Insults (IHI). We apply the index to a sample of 1000 low-income households in Australia. The analysis shows a graded association between housing insults and health on all outcome measures. Further, after controlling for possible confounders, the IHI is shown to provide additional predictive power to the explanation of levels of mental health, general health and clinical depression beyond more traditional proxy measures. Overall, this paper reinforces the need to look not just at separate housing components but to embrace a broader understanding of the relationship between housing and health. View Full-Text
Keywords: housing; health; index; longitudinal housing; health; index; longitudinal

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Baker, E.; Beer, A.; Lester, L.; Pevalin, D.; Whitehead, C.; Bentley, R. Is Housing a Health Insult? Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 567.

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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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