September 20, 2013
The MacArthur Foundation recently published a brief examining how a child’s living conditions predict emotional and/or behavioral problems. The brief found that, among the five housing conditions examined, “poor housing quality is the most consistent and strongest predictor of emotional and behavioral problems in low-income children and youth.” The five factors studied were: quality, stability, affordability, ownership, and whether households receive a housing subsidy.
The study tracked the academic performance as well as emotional and behavioral problems of 2,400 randomly selected low-income children and teens in Chicago, Boston and San Antonio. The research showed the children’s housing conditions were related to their well-being and academic success.
Despite slow progress in the U.S. economy, many families still face long-term unemployment and unhealthy home environments, something that can cause significant stress on the family and affect parenting. The brief notes that “creating and sustaining healthy homes for children and families is a key public health issue” and emphasizes the importance of current programs that provide help with housing and economic resources.