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Soc Sci Med. 2005 Jun;60(12):2773-83. Epub 2005 Jan 26.

Housing improvement and self-reported mental distress among council estate residents.

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  • 1School of Geography, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK.


This paper is concerned with how housing improvements instigated either publicly or privately influence the degree of psychological stress reported by council estate residents in South Manchester. Stress is measured on the GHQ12 scale containing standard symptomatic items. Potential sources of variation in this indicator are analysed within a geographical setting where repeated samples of residents were drawn from two adjacent suburban council housing estates before and after the implementation of a single regeneration budget (SRB) housing initiative in late 1999. The residents of one of these estates (Wythenshawe) were targeted by this funding while those in the other (Mersey Bank) were not. The latter, therefore, serve as a control for the effects of the enhanced incidence of housing improvement activity promoted by this SRB. Regression analyses revealed that stress was raised significantly among the SRB residents perhaps on account of the additional environmental nuisance they encountered. The experience of stress among all residents, however, was dominated by measures of personal psychosocial risk and it is argued that future regeneration initiatives should address the manifestation of these risks in the effort to achieve better mental health.

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