Housing is an important social determinant of health. Poor housing conditions are associated with a wide range of health conditions, including mental health. The study aimed to investigate the association between substandard housing and depression.
We used panel data collected by the Korea Welfare Panel Study and a sample drawn from waves 11 (2016) to 13 (2018). Substandard housing was defined via three criteria: the minimum residential area and number of rooms by application, essential facility standards, and environmental standards. Depression was measured with the CESD-11. A generalized estimating equation model was used to investigate associations between substandard housing and CESD-11 scores.
Participants living in substandard housing have higher depression scores (male: β = 0.63, female: β = 0.40) than participants who do not live in substandard housing. Participants who do not meet environmental standards have higher depression scores (male: β = 0.85, female: β = 0.66) than participants who do not live in substandard housing; the findings are seen in both men and women.
This study identified an association between substandard housing and depression by gender, and the results were significant. We found that among the three criteria, environmental standards are most likely to be associated with depression. In practical terms, we should consider improving environmental factors of housing to mitigate mental health issues related to substandard housing.