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.

Systematic Review of Housing Improvement and Health (Update)

Update Ongoing    Start date 1999/2005    End date  2004/2011

Work to synthesise the evidence on the health impacts of housing improvement has been ongoing since the inception of the evaluation programme.  In 2001 the first systematic review on this topic was published.  This review established the dearth of evaluations of housing investment which had investigated changes in health outcomes. The findings of the first review of housing interventions subsequently informed two later studies, the Renton Study and SHARP, which have both been included in the current update of the housing review.

In 2004 we embarked on an update of this review. The protocol was reviewed and approved by the Campbell Collaboration and the findings were published in the American Journal of Public Health (2009). Using the studies in this review we have also undertaken a systematic review of the economic and cost analysis conducted in the housing studies.

 

The most recent version of this review was registered jointly with the Social Welfare Group of the Campbell Collaboration and the Public Health Review Group of the Cochrane Collaboration. The protocol for this review was peer reviewed by both the Campbell and the Cochrane collaboration and is now published [http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD008657.pub2/otherversions

 

The review was published in February 2013. The main findings of the review suggest that housing improvement can lead to improvements in health. Improved health is most likely where warmth and energy efficiency improvements are targeted at those with poor health who live in housing with inadequate warmth. The health impacts of area based programmes of housing-led neighbourhood renewal are less clear. This review has developed innovative methods to handle and present diverse and complex data on both health and socio-economic impacts [http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jrsm.1060/pdf & http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/pdf/10.2105/AJPH.2013.301400 ] and in particular attempted to examine possible mechanisms to health. To do this we looked at all socio-economic impacts reported in the included studies. These data were examined to see whether or not impacts on socio-economic outcomes which were linked to the housing improvement, for example changes in housing costs, educational achievement, employment, diet etc, might explain the lack of short term health impact and/or point to the potential for health impacts to emerge beyond the timescale of the evaluation. Most of the data on socio-economic impacts was derived from the qualitative studies. This provided useful insights into possible mechanisms for how housing improvement may or may not lead to health improvements. We have used these data to develop an overall theory of housing improvement and health.

Publications

2015

Thomson H, Thomas S. Developing empirically supported theories of change for housing investment and health. Social Science & Medicine 2015;124:205-214

open access  

2014

Centre for Reviews & Dissemination . Housing improvement and home safety. Effectiveness matters 2014;November

open access  

2013

Fenwick E, MacDonald C, Thomson H. Economic analysis of the health impacts of housing improvement studies: a systematic review. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 2013;67:835-45

open access  

Thomson H, Macdonald C, Higgins M, Palmer S, Douglas M. Health Impact Assessment of housing improvements: a guide. Glasgow, 2013

open access  

Thomson H, Thomas S, Sellström E, Petticrew M. Housing improvements for health and associated socio-economic outcomes: a systematic review. Campbell Systematic Reviews, 2013

open access  

Thomson H, Thomas S, Sellstrom E, Petticrew M. Housing improvements for health and associated socio-economic outcomes. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013;2:CD008657

open access  

Thomson H, Thomas S. The effect direction plot: visual display of non-standardised effects across multiple outcome domains. Research Synthesis Methods 2013;4:95–101

open access  

2012

Thomson H, Thomas S. External validity in healthy public policy: application of the RE-AIM tool to the field of housing improvement. BMC Public Health 2012;12:633

pubmed  open access  

2011

Thomson H. Housing improvements and their health effects . In: Braubach M , Jacobs DE , Ormandy D , editors WHO environmental burden of disease associated with inadequate housing. Bonn, Germany: WHO European Office, 2011:179-195.

open access  

2010

Thomson H, Thomas S, Sellstrom E, Petticrew M. Housing improvements for health and associated socio-economic outcomes [protocol]. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2010;9:CD008657

open access  

2009

Thomson H, Thomas Sian, Sellstrom E, Petticrew M. The health impacts of housing improvement: a systematic review of intervention studies from 1887 to 2007. American Journal of Public Health 2009;99:S681-S692

pubmed  open access  

2008

Thomson H. A dose of realism for healthy urban policy: lessons from area based initiatives in the UK. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 2008;62:932-36

pubmed  open access  

Thomson H. Assessing the health impacts of housing-led neighbourhood renewal [commentary]. British Urban Regeneration Association (BURA) 2008;2:19-20

2005

Thomson H, Petticrew M. Is housing improvement a potential health improvement strategy?. Geneva, 2005

open access  

2003

Douglas M, Thomson H, Gaughan M. Health Impact Assessment of housing improvements: a guide. Scottish Health Impact Assessment Network and MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, Glasgow, 2003

open access  

Thomson H, Petticrew M, Douglas M. Health Impact Assessment of housing improvements: incorporating research evidence. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 2003;57:11-16

pubmed  

2001

Thomson H, Petticrew M, Morrison D. Housing improvement and health gain: a summary and systematic review. MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit Occasional paper no. 5, Glasgow, 2001

Thomson H, Petticrew M, Morrison D. Health effects of housing improvement: systematic review of intervention studies. BMJ 2001;323:187-190

pubmed  open access  

Project Staff

Glossary

  • Campbell Collaboration A non-for-profit international organisation which investigates the effects of social, educational and criminological interventions. (See: http://www.campbellcollaboration.org/)
  • Systematic review A type of literature review which uses a particular approach involving (among other things) a comprehensive search for literature, and a formal assessment of the quality of each study
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