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Mental health and the built environment: Cross – sectional survey of individual and contextual risk factors for depression

  • Scott Weich (a1), Martin Blanchard (a1), Martin Prince (a2), Elizabeth Burton (a3), Bob Erens (a4) and Kerry Sproston (a4)...
Abstract
Background

Little is known about the effects of the physical environment on individual health.

Aims

The present study tested the hypothesis that the prevalence of depression is associated with independently rated measures of the built environment, after adjusting for individuals' socio-economic status and the internal characteristics of their dwellings.

Method

Cross-sectional survey of 1887 individuals aged 16 years and over in two electoral wards in north London. Depression was ascertained using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale (CES–D). The built environment was rated independently, using a validated measure.

Results

After adjusting for socio-economic status, floor of residence and structural housing problems, statistically significant associations were found between the prevalence of depression and living in housing areas characterised by properties with predominantly deck access (odds ratio=1.28, 95% Cl 1.03–1.58; P=0.02) and of recent (post-1969) construction (odds ratio=l.43, 95% Cl 1.06–1.91; P=0.02).

Conclusions

The prevalence of depression was associated with independently rated features of the built environment, independent of individuals' socio-economic status and internal characteristics of dwellings.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Scott Weich, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences, Royal Free and University College Medical School, Royal Free Campus, Rowland Hill Street, London NW3 2PF, UK. Tel: 020 7830 2350; fax: 020 7830 2802; e-mail: s.weich@rfc.ucl.ac.uk
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Declaration of interest

None. The study was funded by the Wellcome Trust.

Footnotes
References
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  • ISSN: 0007-1250
  • EISSN: 1472-1465
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Mental health and the built environment: Cross – sectional survey of individual and contextual risk factors for depression

  • Scott Weich (a1), Martin Blanchard (a1), Martin Prince (a2), Elizabeth Burton (a3), Bob Erens (a4) and Kerry Sproston (a4)...
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