Housing improvements, fuel payment difficulties and mental health in deprived communities

Curl, A. and Kearns, A. (2017) Housing improvements, fuel payment difficulties and mental health in deprived communities. International Journal of Housing Policy, 17(3), pp. 417-443. (doi: 10.1080/14616718.2016.1248526)

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This paper examines the effect of warmth interventions on self-reported difficulties affording fuel bills against a backdrop of rising mental health problems, using a longitudinal sample in Glasgow, UK. Following a period of rising fuel prices and stagnating wages, fuel poverty is high on the political agenda and is a particular issue for those living in deprived communities who may be most affected by rising fuel bills and reductions in employment, wages and incomes in the recent period of recession and austerity. Since 2006, the reporting of difficulties paying for fuel bills has been rising in the study population. Alongside fuel prices and income, energy efficiency is the third key driver of fuel poverty. As such the research seeks to establish whether warmth interventions, designed to improve the energy efficiency of homes can provide protection against worsening financial difficulties and lead to better mental health outcomes for residents. Results suggest that those who report greater frequency of financial difficulty also report worsening mental health. There is limited impact of energy efficiency improvements on perceived fuel affordability difficulties, and where there is an effect, central heating is related to more frequent financial hardships.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This research was conducted as part of the Glasgow Community Health and Wellbeing Research and Learning Programme (www.gowellonline.com) which is a collaborative partnership between the Glasgow Centre for Population Health, the University of Glasgow and the CSO/MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit. GoWell is sponsored by the Scottish Government, NHS Health Scotland, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Glasgow Housing Association (Wheatley Group).
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Curl, Dr Angela and Kearns, Professor Ade
Authors: Curl, A., and Kearns, A.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Urban Studies
Journal Name:International Journal of Housing Policy
Publisher:Taylor and Francis (Routledge)
ISSN (Online):1473-3269
Published Online:21 November 2016
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor and Francis Group
First Published:First published in International Journal of Housing Policy 17(3):417-443
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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