• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of jepicomhJournal of Epidemiology and Community HealthVisit this articleSubmit a manuscriptReceive email alertsContact usBMJ
J Epidemiol Community Health. Sep 2000; 54(9): 677–686.
PMCID: PMC1731738

An epidemiological study of the relative importance of damp housing in relation to adult health

Abstract

STUDY OBJECTIVE—To examine the association between damp housing and adult health, taking into account a wide range of other factors that may influence health and could confound this relation.
PARTICIPANTS AND SETTING—A general population sample of adults, aged 18-64, from Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Northamptonshire.
DESIGN—Secondary analysis of responses to a postal questionnaire survey carried out in 1997 with a 64% response rate (8889 of 13 800). Housing dampness was assessed by self report. Health was measured by responses to a series of questions including presence of asthma and longstanding illness generally, use of health services and perceived health status (the SF-36). The effect of damp was examined using the χ2 test and one way analysis of variance. Significant associations with the various health outcomes were further explored taking into account 35 other housing, demographic, psychosocial and lifestyle variables using stepwise logistic and linear regression.
MAIN RESULTS—Bivariate analyses indicated that damp was associated with the majority of health outcomes. Regression modelling however, found that being unable to keep the home warm enough in winter was a more important explanatory variable. Worry about pressure at work and to a lesser extent about money, showed an independent association with perceived health status equal to or greater than that of the housing environment, including cold housing, and that of health related lifestyles.
CONCLUSIONS—This study shows that being unable to keep the home warm enough in winter is more strongly associated with health outcomes than is damp housing. However, as cold and damp housing are closely related, it is likely that their combined effects are shown in these results. The importance of worry as an independent predictor of health status needs testing in other studies. Its prevalence and relative importance suggest that it may be a significant determinant of public health.


Keywords: damp housing; cold housing; health

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (194K).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Platt SD, Martin CJ, Hunt SM, Lewis CW. Damp housing, mould growth, and symptomatic health state. BMJ. 1989 Jun 24;298(6689):1673–1678. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Dales RE, Burnett R, Zwanenburg H. Adverse health effects among adults exposed to home dampness and molds. Am Rev Respir Dis. 1991 Mar;143(3):505–509. [PubMed]
  • Packer CN, Stewart-Brown S, Fowle SE. Damp housing and adult health: results from a lifestyle study in Worcester, England. J Epidemiol Community Health. 1994 Dec;48(6):555–559. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Martin CJ, Platt SD, Hunt SM. Housing conditions and ill health. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987 May 2;294(6580):1125–1127. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Strachan DP. Damp housing and childhood asthma: validation of reporting of symptoms. BMJ. 1988 Nov 12;297(6658):1223–1226. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Dales RE, Zwanenburg H, Burnett R, Franklin CA. Respiratory health effects of home dampness and molds among Canadian children. Am J Epidemiol. 1991 Jul 15;134(2):196–203. [PubMed]
  • Melia RJ, Florey C du V, Morris RW, Goldstein BD, John HH, Clark D, Craighead IB, Mackinlay JC. Childhood respiratory illness and the home environment. II. Association between respiratory illness and nitrogen dioxide, temperature and relative humidity. Int J Epidemiol. 1982 Jun;11(2):164–169. [PubMed]
  • Keithley J, Byrne D, Harrisson S, McCarthy P. Health and housing conditions in public sector housing estates. Public Health. 1984 Nov;98(6):344–353. [PubMed]
  • STEIN L. Tuberculosis and the "social complex" in Glasgow. Br J Soc Med. 1952 Jan;6(1):1–48. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Hyndman SJ. Housing dampness and health amongst British Bengalis in east London. Soc Sci Med. 1990;30(1):131–141. [PubMed]
  • Burr ML, St Leger AS, Yarnell JW. Wheezing, dampness, and coal fires. Community Med. 1981 Aug;3(3):205–209. [PubMed]
  • Strachan DP, Elton RA. Relationship between respiratory morbidity in children and the home environment. Fam Pract. 1986 Sep;3(3):137–142. [PubMed]
  • Waegemaekers M, Van Wageningen N, Brunekreef B, Boleij JS. Respiratory symptoms in damp homes. A pilot study. Allergy. 1989 Apr;44(3):192–198. [PubMed]
  • Dijkstra L, Houthuijs D, Brunekreef B, Akkerman I, Boleij JS. Respiratory health effects of the indoor environment in a population of Dutch children. Am Rev Respir Dis. 1990 Nov;142(5):1172–1178. [PubMed]
  • Williamson IJ, Martin CJ, McGill G, Monie RD, Fennerty AG. Damp housing and asthma: a case-control study. Thorax. 1997 Mar;52(3):229–234. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Platts-Mills TA, Chapman MD. Dust mites: immunology, allergic disease, and environmental control. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1987 Dec;80(6):755–775. [PubMed]
  • Sporik R, Holgate ST, Platts-Mills TA, Cogswell JJ. Exposure to house-dust mite allergen (Der p I) and the development of asthma in childhood. A prospective study. N Engl J Med. 1990 Aug 23;323(8):502–507. [PubMed]
  • Korsgaard J. Mite asthma and residency. A case-control study on the impact of exposure to house-dust mites in dwellings. Am Rev Respir Dis. 1983 Aug;128(2):231–235. [PubMed]
  • Salvaggio J, Aukrust L. Postgraduate course presentations. Mold-induced asthma. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1981 Nov;68(5):327–346. [PubMed]
  • Gravesen S. Fungi as a cause of allergic disease. Allergy. 1979 Jun;34(3):135–154. [PubMed]
  • May JJ, Stallones L, Darrow D, Pratt DS. Organic dust toxicity (pulmonary mycotoxicosis) associated with silo unloading. Thorax. 1986 Dec;41(12):919–923. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Doll HA, Petersen SE, Stewart-Brown SL. Obesity and physical and emotional well-being: associations between body mass index, chronic illness, and the physical and mental components of the SF-36 questionnaire. Obes Res. 2000 Mar;8(2):160–170. [PubMed]
  • Keatinge WR, Coleshaw SR, Cotter F, Mattock M, Murphy M, Chelliah R. Increases in platelet and red cell counts, blood viscosity, and arterial pressure during mild surface cooling: factors in mortality from coronary and cerebral thrombosis in winter. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984 Nov 24;289(6456):1405–1408. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Collins KJ, Easton JC, Belfield-Smith H, Exton-Smith AN, Pluck RA. Effects of age on body temperature and blood pressure in cold environments. Clin Sci (Lond) 1985 Oct;69(4):465–470. [PubMed]
  • Collins KJ. Low indoor temperatures and morbidity in the elderly. Age Ageing. 1986 Jul;15(4):212–220. [PubMed]
  • Stewart-Brown S, Layte R. Emotional health problems are the most important cause of disability in adults of working age: a study in the four counties of the old Oxford region. J Epidemiol Community Health. 1997 Dec;51(6):672–675. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Bosma H, Marmot MG, Hemingway H, Nicholson AC, Brunner E, Stansfeld SA. Low job control and risk of coronary heart disease in Whitehall II (prospective cohort) study. BMJ. 1997 Feb 22;314(7080):558–565. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Cohen S, Tyrrell DA, Smith AP. Psychological stress and susceptibility to the common cold. N Engl J Med. 1991 Aug 29;325(9):606–612. [PubMed]
  • Rosengren A, Orth-Gomér K, Wedel H, Wilhelmsen L. Stressful life events, social support, and mortality in men born in 1933. BMJ. 1993 Oct 30;307(6912):1102–1105. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Tennant CC, Palmer KJ, Langeluddecke PM, Jones MP, Nelson G. Life event stress and myocardial reinfarction: a prospective study. Eur Heart J. 1994 Apr;15(4):472–478. [PubMed]
  • Brunner E. Stress and the biology of inequality. BMJ. 1997 May 17;314(7092):1472–1476. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Cameron D, Jones IG. An epidemiological and sociological analysis of the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs of solace. Community Med. 1985 Feb;7(1):18–29. [PubMed]
  • Bartley M. Unemployment and ill health: understanding the relationship. J Epidemiol Community Health. 1994 Aug;48(4):333–337. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Claussen B, Bjørndal A, Hjort PF. Health and re-employment in a two year follow up of long term unemployed. J Epidemiol Community Health. 1993 Feb;47(1):14–18. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Kaplan GA, Goldberg DE, Everson SA, Cohen RD, Salonen R, Tuomilehto J, Salonen J. Perceived health status and morbidity and mortality: evidence from the Kuopio ischaemic heart disease risk factor study. Int J Epidemiol. 1996 Apr;25(2):259–265. [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health are provided here courtesy of BMJ Group

Formats:

Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...

Links

  • Cited in Books
    Cited in Books
    PubMed Central articles cited in books
  • PubMed
    PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...