International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 56, Issue 6, pp 597–607 | Cite as

Material and meaningful homes: mental health impacts and psychosocial benefits of rehousing to new dwellings

  • Ade Kearns
  • Elise Whitley
  • Phil Mason
  • Mark Petticrew
  • Caroline Hoy
Original Article



To establish whether rehousing people to new dwellings had impacts upon residents’ mental health and psychosocial benefits derived from the home.


A prospective controlled study across Scotland involving 723 householders (334 intervention; 389 control). Interviews were carried out just prior to the move, and 2 years thereafter.


Changes in self-reported psychosocial benefits were greater than changes in mental health. Respondents in family households appeared to have gained the most and those in older person households the least. For those in families, the most consistent effects flowed from improvements in space, privacy and change of location; for those in adult-only households, improvements in crime and safety mattered most. Gains in psychosocial benefits were associated with improved mental health (SF-36) scores.


Rehousing has substantial impacts on residential conditions and on psychosocial benefits, and lesser (possibly indirect) impacts upon mental health. Housing is a complex intervention applied to a heterogeneous group for a range of reasons. Hence its impacts result from different aspects of residential change for particular types of household.


SHARP study Rehousing Mental health Psychosocial benefits 



The SHARP study was funded by the Scottish Government, the Chief Scientist Office (part of the Scottish Government Health Directorate) and the University of Glasgow. Our thanks to Catherine Ferrell, Kate Campbell and Julie Watson of the MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit (SPHSU) for organising the fieldwork, and to the fieldwork team for their efforts throughout the project and for the assistance of Business Plus for conducting interviews in the north of Scotland.

Supplementary material

38_2011_275_MOESM1_ESM.doc (128 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 127 kb)


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Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ade Kearns
    • 1
  • Elise Whitley
    • 1
  • Phil Mason
    • 1
  • Mark Petticrew
    • 2
  • Caroline Hoy
    • 3
  1. 1.Urban Studies, School of Social and Political SciencesUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowUK
  2. 2.Public and Environmental Health Research UnitLondon School of Hygiene and Tropical MedicineLondonUK
  3. 3.NHS Health ScotlandEdinburghUK

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