Residential mobility and the association between physical environment disadvantage and general and mental health

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Abstract

Background

Selective migration may influence the association between physical environments and health. This analysis assessed whether residential mobility concentrates people with poor health in neighbourhoods of the UK with disadvantaged physical environments.

Methods

Data were from the British Household Panel Survey. Moves were over 1 year between adjacent survey waves, pooled over 10 pairs of waves, 1996–2006. Health outcomes were self-reported poor general health and mental health problems. Neighbourhood physical environment was defined using the Multiple Environmental Deprivation Index (MEDIx) for wards. Logistic regression analysis compared risk of poor health in MEDIx categories before and after moves. Analyses were stratified by age groups 18–29, 30–44, 45–59 and 60+ years and adjusted for age, sex, marital status, household type, housing tenure, education and social class.

Results

The pooled data contained 122 570 observations. 8.5% moved between survey waves but just 3.0% changed their MEDIx category. In all age groups odds ratios for poor general and mental health were not significantly increased in the most environmentally deprived neighbourhoods following moves.

Conclusions

Over a 1-year time period residential moves between environments with different levels of multiple physical deprivation were rare and did not significantly raise rates of poor health in the most deprived areas.

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