From February 2017, information about the work of the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow is available and updated on the University of Glasgow website.

Unit Image
Claire Cleland and Anne Ellaway from the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Science Unit have published new research about housing changes and other challenging life events, based on data from the GoWell study.

Housing changes in the context of other life events

posted on: Nov 12, 2015

During a person’s life time they may face many challenging life events such as a housing-related event (moving home or home improvements) or other personal life events (serious health event, new job or promotion, unemployment, pregnancy, a relationship problem, bereavement, marriage or setting up home with a partner, the victim of a crime or behavioural problems with a child) all of which are significant and have the potential to have  negative impacts on the health and well-being of the individual. 

As there is large-scale regeneration taking place across Glasgow and the impact of both housing and personal life events have not yet been studied in Scotland we used GoWell survey data to examine the impact of such events on the health and well-being of a group of individuals living across Glasgow.

Results from the current study showed that housing-related events (moving house and housing improvements) were the most frequently occurring life events across Glasgow, although they had only minor negative impacts upon physical and mental health and mental well-being. The largest negative effects that were found to impact upon health were associated with the individual or a family member having a serious health event, illness or disability, being the victim of a crime, and having a serious problem with or a break-up of a relationship with a partner.  The largest positive effect on health was found when an individual got a new job or promotion.

Our findings are important as they help us to inform public policy, in particular indicating the need for holistic regeneration programmes which as well as seeking to improve residents’ housing circumstances and community environments through regeneration or relocation, also seek to support people through other life events which occur frequently at the same time, and which impinge upon their ability to benefit as much as they might from the physical changes being implemented.

The research is reported in the article:  ‘Home truths: Are housing-related events more important for residents’ health compared with other life events?’ by Claire Cleland, Ade Kearns, Carol Tannahill & Anne Ellaway, published by the journal Housing Studies and available here.