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The Residential Psychosocial Environment and Mental Wellbeing in Deprived Areas


  • Ade Kearns
  • Elise Whitley
  • Lyndal Bond
  • Carol Tannahill


The importance of psychosocial environments to health outcomes -- physical health, mental health and wellbeing, and health behaviours -- has been increasingly recognised in recent years, but more so in relation to the workplace than other settings. This paper seeks to extend this field of inquiry both conceptually and empirically. It argues that housing and neighbourhoods can equally be viewed as comprising an important residential psychosocial environment operating via processes of appearance, perceived relative position, control, status and empowerment. The paper goes on to demonstrate this approach by looking at the relationships between housing and neighbourhood psychosocial risk factors and psychosocial benefits and mental wellbeing for residents in relatively deprived areas. A range of psychosocial factors are positively associated with mental wellbeing, with the most important being: the attainment of feelings of residential and personal progress; having a sense of control at home; and the aesthetic qualities of the dwelling and neighbourhood environment. Empowerment in relation to both one's landlord and local area changes were both also important, although slightly less strongly associated with mental wellbeing. The perceived relative position of the dwelling and neighbourhood had the least strong associations with mental wellbeing once aspects of quality were taken into account.

Suggested Citation

  • Ade Kearns & Elise Whitley & Lyndal Bond & Carol Tannahill, 2012. "The Residential Psychosocial Environment and Mental Wellbeing in Deprived Areas," International Journal of Housing Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(4), pages 413-438, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:intjhp:v:12:y:2012:i:4:p:413-438
    DOI: 10.1080/14616718.2012.711985

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