Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

For low-income families, substandard housing takes toll on children

23.10.2013
Study of 2,400 children, teens and young adults sharpens focus on quality, not affordability

A new report from researchers at Boston College and Tufts University shows the distinct emotional and educational price children pay when their families live in run down apartments and homes.

Data culled from a six-year study of 2,400 children, teens and young adults found emotional and behavioral symptoms such as anxiety, depression, lying and aggressive behavior are closely connected to poor housing quality and the related stress placed on parents, children and families, according to the report, which was published in the journal Developmental Psychology.

Children growing up in poor quality housing plagued by leaky roofs, broken windows, peeling paint, debris and vermin experience greater emotional and behavioral problems at young ages and later see their school performance suffer, researchers report in one of the most comprehensive assessments ever conducted into the impact of housing on children in the U.S.

"Through no fault of their own, children and teens whose families live in substandard housing are paying a steep price in terms of their emotional and behavioral well-being," said a lead author of the study, Boston College Professor of Education Rebekah Levine Coley. "That carries on into school and creates deficits that are extremely difficult to overcome."

Most telling was the finding that poor housing quality was the most consistent and strongest predictor of emotional and behavioral problems in low-income children and youth who were studied when compared to factors such as affordability, ownership, residential stability or housing subsidy receipt, according to the researchers, whose analysis was funded by grants from the MacArthur Foundation and the W. T. Grant Foundation.

Furthermore, residential instability – the moving from place to place, even if only a few blocks away or the town next door – disrupts the functioning of low-income children over the long term, , according to Coley, who conducted the study with Tufts University Professor Tama Leventhal. Although single moves may provide a boost to poor children and teens in the short-term, perhaps allowing them to access safer housing or better schools, over time the cumulative effect of residential instability took a toll on children, increasing emotional and behavioral problems.

A toll was taken not only on children, but their parents, generating stressful conditions within families, said Coley, a professor of Counseling, Developmental and Educational Psychology at the Lynch School of Education.

"A big takeaway is that many of these links function in part through parenting and parental stress," said Coley, whose research examines the intersection of families, neighborhoods and public policy. "We know that environmental stress can come not just from outside the home, but from the home itself when we consider the impact of living day-to-day with exposed wiring, peeling paint, rodents, poor sanitation and a lack of natural light, or with frequent moves from home to home."

An estimated two million poor children lived in run-down and unsafe housing in 2005, and double blows dealt to low-income neighborhoods by the housing crisis and the recession have likely worsened the situation.

Among the many interrelated issues the researchers untangled was the impact of affordability. While many of the families struggled with housing costs – with most paying more than 30 percent of household income toward housing – whether or not housing was affordable was not predictive of children's well-being. Similarly, living in owned homes or government-assisted housing rather than private rental stock did not outweigh the issues of quality and stability.

Researchers found a strong link between the stress poor housing quality placed on parents and the problems experienced by children, according to the report. For parents, the strain of living in substandard housing produced symptoms of anxiety and depression.

The study, which focused on families living in low-income neighborhoods in Boston, Chicago and San Antonio, may serve to focus policymakers on making the link between quality and affordability in new housing legislation and regulations.

"There's a tremendous amount of attention paid to affordability and that's a critical issue for low-income families," said Coley. "What our findings suggest is that housing quality may be more important when we are concerned with the growth and development of children. The data suggest policymakers make housing quality a priority as they work to resolve the housing crisis facing low-income families."

Ed Hayward | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.bc.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>