Does housing tenure predict health in the UK because it exposes people to different levels of housing related hazards in the home or its surroundings?

Health Place. 1998 Jun;4(2):141-50. doi: 10.1016/s1353-8292(98)00006-9.


In the UK housing tenure (whether the dwelling is owner occupied or rented) has consistently been found to be associated with longevity and with a number of measures of health. It has been argued that it is a good measure of material circumstances, and it is often incorporated into area based measures of social or material deprivation. However there is little published research on whether housing tenure predicts mortality and morbidity simply because it is an indicator of material well being, or whether, in addition, different categories of housing tenure expose people to different levels of health hazards in the dwelling itself or in the immediate environment. In this paper we examine, using data on adults aged 40 and 60 from socially contrasting neighbourhoods in Glasgow, Scotland, whether housing tenure is associated with housing stressors (e.g. overcrowding, dampness, hazards, difficulty with heating the home) and with assessment of the local environment (e.g. amenities, problems, crime, neighbourliness, area reputation and satisfaction), and whether this might help to explain tenure differences in long-standing illness, limiting long-standing illness, anxiety and depression. Controlling for income, age and sex, housing stressors independently predicted limiting long-standing illness; assessment of the area and housing type independently contributed to anxiety; and housing stressors, housing type and assessment of the area independently contributed to depression. This suggests that housing tenure may expose people to different levels of health hazards, and has implications for urban housing policies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Hazardous Substances / adverse effects*
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Housing / standards*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Scotland
  • Social Class


  • Hazardous Substances