Housing and neighborhood physical quality: Children's mental health and motivation



This longitudinal study examined relations between the physical quality of housing, neighborhood, and their interactive effect on the life course development of 341 U.S. rural children from ages 9–24 years. Standardized instruments assessed housing quality (structural, clutter/cleanliness, indoor climate, hazards, crowding/privacy) and neighborhood quality (street connectivity, density, land use mix; proximate building/sidewalk conditions; neighborhood stability; proximity to nature/amenities). Analyses focused on two critical components of child development: 1) psychological health and 2) helplessness. Growth curve analyses with multilevel modeling revealed that lower quality housing was associated with poorer psychological health (internalizing and externalizing symptoms) as well as marginally more helplessness on a behavioral task over 15 years, from ages 9–24 years. All analyses statistically controlled for income level. Neither neighborhood quality nor its interaction with housing quality was related to psychological health or motivation.


Attribute NameValues
  • Kimberly A Rollings

  • Nancy M Wells

  • Gary W Evans

Journal or Work Title
  • Journal of Environmental Psychology

  • 50

First Page
  • 17

Last Page
  • 23

Publication Date
  • 2017-06

Date Created
  • 2021-06-26

  • English

Departments and Units
Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

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