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Open AccessArticle

COVID-19 Lockdown: Housing Built Environment’s Effects on Mental Health

Department of Neuroscience, Rehabilitation, Ophthalmology, Genetics, Maternal and Child Health (DINOGMI), Section of Psychiatry, University of Genoa, 16132 Genoa, Italy
IRCCS Ospedale Policlinico San Martino, 16132 Genoa, Italy
Department of Psychiatry, Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111, USA
Department of Architecture, Built environment and Construction engineering (DABC), Design & Health Lab, Politecnico di Milano, 20133 Milan, Italy
Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Parma, 43121 Parma, Italy
School of Medicine, Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, 20132 Milan, Italy
Clinical Epidemiology and HTA, IRCCS San Raffaele Scientific Institute, 20132 Milan, Italy
Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Geneva (UNIGE), 1206 Geneva, Switzerland
Department of Psychiatry, ASO Santi Antonio e Biagio e Cesare Arrigo Hospital, 15121 Alessandria, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(16), 5973;
Received: 12 June 2020 / Revised: 5 August 2020 / Accepted: 13 August 2020 / Published: 17 August 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Housing and Health)
Since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus infectious disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak a pandemic on 11 March, severe lockdown measures have been adopted by the Italian Government. For over two months of stay-at-home orders, houses became the only place where people slept, ate, worked, practiced sports, and socialized. As consolidated evidence exists on housing as a determinant of health, it is of great interest to explore the impact that COVID-19 response-related lockdown measures have had on mental health and well-being. We conducted a large web-based survey on 8177 students from a university institute in Milan, Northern Italy, one of the regions most heavily hit by the pandemic in Europe. As emerged from our analysis, poor housing is associated with increased risk of depressive symptoms during lockdown. In particular, living in apartments <60 m2 with poor views and scarce indoor quality is associated with, respectively, 1.31 (95% CI: 1046–1637), 1.368 (95% CI: 1166–1605), and 2.253 (95% CI: 1918–2647) times the risk of moderate–severe and severe depressive symptoms. Subjects reporting worsened working performance from home were over four times more likely to also report depression (OR = 4.28, 95% CI: 3713–4924). Housing design strategies should focus on larger and more livable living spaces facing green areas. We argue that a strengthened multi-interdisciplinary approach, involving urban planning, public mental health, environmental health, epidemiology, and sociology, is needed to investigate the effects of the built environment on mental health, so as to inform welfare and housing policies centered on population well-being. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19; lockdown; housing built environment; mental health; evidence-based design COVID-19; lockdown; housing built environment; mental health; evidence-based design
MDPI and ACS Style

Amerio, A.; Brambilla, A.; Morganti, A.; Aguglia, A.; Bianchi, D.; Santi, F.; Costantini, L.; Odone, A.; Costanza, A.; Signorelli, C.; Serafini, G.; Amore, M.; Capolongo, S. COVID-19 Lockdown: Housing Built Environment’s Effects on Mental Health. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 5973.

AMA Style

Amerio A, Brambilla A, Morganti A, Aguglia A, Bianchi D, Santi F, Costantini L, Odone A, Costanza A, Signorelli C, Serafini G, Amore M, Capolongo S. COVID-19 Lockdown: Housing Built Environment’s Effects on Mental Health. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(16):5973.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Amerio, Andrea; Brambilla, Andrea; Morganti, Alessandro; Aguglia, Andrea; Bianchi, Davide; Santi, Francesca; Costantini, Luigi; Odone, Anna; Costanza, Alessandra; Signorelli, Carlo; Serafini, Gianluca; Amore, Mario; Capolongo, Stefano. 2020. "COVID-19 Lockdown: Housing Built Environment’s Effects on Mental Health" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 17, no. 16: 5973.

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