Children's Problems at Home and School Reflect Housing Quality

Children's Problems at Home and School Reflect Housing Quality
Rebekah Levine Coley, Tama Leventhal, Alicia Doyle Lynch, and Melissa Kull
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Creating and sustaining healthy homes for children and families is a key public health issue with ripple effects on schools. To understand how housing matters for children, researchers at Boston College and Tufts University looked at housing contexts and child wellbeing among low-income families living in high-poverty neighborhoods in Boston, Chicago, and San Antonio. The researchers analyzed children's academic skills, emotional problems, and behavioral problems to identify connections with numerous aspects of their housing, such as quality, stability, and affordability.

Major findings:

  • Poor housing quality has a strong a consistent connection with children's emotional and behavioral problems.
  • Poor housing quality is also highly connected with poor school performance among older youth.
  • Children's emotional and behavioral problems are also connected with persistent housing instability.
  • The stress of living in unsafe conditions or facing multiple moves led to parental depression and anxiety, which in turn affected interactions with their children.