Problems with damp and cold housing among Pacific families in New Zealand

N Z Med J. 2003 Jul 11;116(1177):U494.


Aims: To describe reported problems with damp and cold housing among Pacific families in New Zealand and their associations with two facets of maternal health, namely postnatal depression and asthma.

Methods: The data were gathered as part of the Pacific Islands Families: First Two Years of Life (PIF) Study in which 1376 mothers were interviewed when their infants were six weeks old. Mothers were questioned with regard to problems with dampness or mould and cold housing, facets of maternal health (assessed using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale), and asthma.

Results: Over one third of the mothers (37%) reported that their homes had dampness/mould problems, and over half reported problems with cold housing (53.8%). Damp and cold housing were significantly associated with a number of variables including large household size, state rental housing, and financial difficulty with housing costs. Damp and cold housing were also both significantly related to maternal depression and incidence of asthma.

Conclusions: Efforts to reduce problems with damp and cold housing are needed to improve maternal health. To this end, advice regarding the importance of home heating and ventilation may be beneficial.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cold Temperature*
  • Female
  • Fungi
  • Health Status
  • Heating
  • Housing* / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Humidity*
  • Maternal Welfare*
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Socioeconomic Factors