Pacific Islands Families (PIF) Study: housing and psychological distress among Pacific mothers
In a sample of Pacific mothers living in New Zealand, we examined: 1) maternal reports about seven specific major housing problems (too small, difficult to get to from the street, in poor condition, damp, cold, presence of pests, too expensive); and 2) associations between these housing problems and maternal psychological distress, adjusting for some maternal sociodemographic characteristics.Methods:
The Pacific Islands Families longitudinal study follows a cohort of Pacific children born in Auckland, New Zealand, in 2000 and their parents. At the 14-year phase, mothers (n=844) were asked about housing conditions and psychological distress.Results:
Mothers who reported having any major housing problem, particularly the presence of pests and poor housing conditions, were significantly more likely to report psychological distress after adjusting for sociodemographic confounders.Conclusions:
The impact of housing on mental health is complex and may be influenced by social, health and sociodemographic characteristics of Pacific mothers.Implications for public health:
The finding that housing problems are significantly associated with psychological distress among Pacific mothers in New Zealand is an important finding. However, more in-depth qualitative research is needed to provide a clearer understanding of the way housing problems affect mental health and to guide strategies that minimise this outcome for Pacific mothers.