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OP22 Exploring the impact of housing insecurity on the health and wellbeing of children and young people in the United Kingdom: a qualitative systematic review*
  1. Emma Hock1,
  2. Lindsay Blank1,
  3. Hannah Fairbrother2,
  4. Mark Clowes1,
  5. Diana Castelblanco Cuevas1,
  6. Andrew Booth1,
  7. Elizabeth Goyder1
  1. 1School of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK
  2. 2Health Sciences School, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK


Background Housing insecurity can be understood as experiencing or being at risk of multiple house moves that are not through choice and related to poverty. Housing has been shown to impact the health and wellbeing of children and young people (CYP) in diverse ways. However, the pathways linking housing and child health and wellbeing are complex and poorly understood.

Methods We undertook a systematic review synthesising qualitative data exploring the impact of housing insecurity on CYP health and wellbeing from the perspectives of UK CYP (aged 0–16 years) and those close to them. We searched six databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, ASSIA, IBSS and SSCI), reference lists, and UK grey literature. We extracted and tabulated key data from included qualitative studies and appraised study quality using the CASP (published) or AACCODS (grey literature) checklists. We synthesised the data into an a priori conceptual framework using best fit framework synthesis combined with thematic synthesis, and generated logic models to highlight links between specific exposures, impacts and outcomes.

Results We examined 3261 records and 236 full texts from databases, 726 full texts from grey literature sources, and 85 full texts from reference lists. We included 59 studies and identified four populations: (i) those experiencing housing insecurity in general; and housing insecurity associated with (ii) domestic violence; (iii) migration status; and (iv) forced relocation due to demolition. Housing insecurity resulted from several interrelated situations, including eviction or a forced move, temporary accommodation, exposure to problematic behaviour, overcrowded/poor-condition/unsuitable property, and undesired multiple moves. Impacts identified were school-related issues, psychological, financial and family wellbeing impacts, daily long-distance travel, and poor living conditions, all of which could exacerbate housing insecurity. People perceived that these experiences led to mental and physical health problems, tiredness and delayed development. The impact of housing insecurity was mitigated by friendship and support, staying at the same school, having hope for the future, and positive parenting strategies. The negative impacts of housing insecurity on child/adolescent health and wellbeing could be compounded by specific life circumstances, such as escaping domestic violence, migration status, or demolition-related relocation.

Conclusion Policies should focus on reducing housing insecurity among families, particularly through reducing eviction; improving and reducing the need for temporary accommodation; minimum requirements for property condition; and reducing multiple and long-distance moves. Those working with CYP and families experiencing housing insecurity should prioritise giving them optimal choice and control over housing-related situations that affect them.

  • housing insecurity
  • health and wellbeing
  • public health

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