Background: The numbers of housing repossessions and evictions in the UK are increasing. This study investigates whether repossessions and evictions increase the likelihood of common mental illness and examine their pattern over time.
Method: Data come from the core longitudinal panel of the British Household Panel Survey (N=12,390) of adults living in private households. Multivariate fixed-effects regression models are used with weighted data. Common mental illness is measured by the 12-item General Health Questionnaire.
Results: Housing repossession is associated with an increased risk of common mental illness (adjusted odds ratio 1.61, 95% confidence interval 1.10 to 2.36) whereas eviction from rented property shows no increased risk (0.97, 0.76 to 1.20). The pattern over time shows a clear increase in the years before repossession.
Conclusions: Repossession of owned property, although a relatively rare event in the panel, significantly increases the risk of common mental illness immediately after the event. In contrast, eviction from rented property is a more common event but is not associated with an increased risk of common mental illness. This difference in association may be due to losing the security of owned housing and the often transitory nature of the rented housing population.