Journal of Urban Health

, Volume 92, Issue 4, pp 611–621 | Cite as

Depressive Symptomology and Hostile Affect among Latinos Using Housing Rental Assistance: the AHOME Study

  • Earle C. Chambers
  • Damaris Fuster
  • Shakira F. Suglia
  • Emily Rosenbaum


Studies show that those residing in households subsidized with federal housing vouchers exhibit fewer mental health problems than residents of public housing. The role of housing conditions and neighborhood quality in this relationship is unclear. This study investigated the relationship between rental assistance, housing and neighborhood conditions, and the risk of depressive symptomology and hostile affect among low-income Latino adults living in the Bronx, NY. Latino adults participating in the Affordable Housing as an Obesity Mediating Environment (AHOME) study were used for analysis. All AHOME participants were eligible for federal low-income housing rental assistance (n = 385) and living in the Bronx, New York (2010–2012). Housing (crowding and structural deficiencies) and neighborhood (physical disorder and social cohesion) were measured by questionnaire during in-home interview. Depressive symptomology was measured using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale Short Form, CES-D 10 (score ≥10). Hostile affect was measured using items from the Cook-Medley Hostility Scale (score ≥ 4). Results suggest residents of Section 8 housing have similar levels of depressive symptomology and hostility compared to residents in public housing or those receiving no federal housing assistance. However, depressive symptomology was significantly associated with maintenance deficiencies [OR = 1.17; CI 1.02, 1.35] and social cohesion [OR = 0.71; CI 0.55, 0.93]. Hostility was significantly associated with perceived crowding [OR = 1.18; CI 1.16, 2.85], neighborhood physical disorder [OR = 1.94; CI 1.12, 3.40], and social cohesion [OR = 0.70; CI 0.50, 0.98]. Low-income housing assistance did not have an independent effect on mental health outcomes. However, characteristics of the housing and neighborhood environments were associated with depressive symptomology and hostility.


Housing assistance Latinos Hostility Depression Psychological stress 



The authors would like to thank the participants of The AHOME study for their important contributions. We would also like to acknowledge the contribution of the AHOME clinical interviewers and student interns whose dedication made this study possible.

Sources of Funding

The AHOME Study is funded by a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s “How Housing Matters to Families and Communities” research program (grant no. 94005–0). Dr. Chambers was also supported, in part, by National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute research grants N01HC65235 and K01HL125466.


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Copyright information

© The New York Academy of Medicine 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Earle C. Chambers
    • 1
  • Damaris Fuster
    • 2
  • Shakira F. Suglia
    • 3
  • Emily Rosenbaum
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Family and Social MedicineAlbert Einstein College of MedicineBronxUSA
  2. 2.Department of Molecular Imaging and NeuropathologyNew York State Psychiatric Institute Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Department of EpidemiologyColumbia University Mailman School of Public HealthNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyFordham UniversityBronxUSA

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