Housing and Health in Three Contrasting Neighbourhoods in Accra, Ghana
Social Science & Medicine
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Although the literature on housing and health is extensive, most research comes from developed countries. Relatively little work on the topic has been done in developing countries such as Ghana where socio-economic and cultural characteristics are generally different. This paper reports on primary research that investigates the relationship between housing and self reported general and mental health in Accra, Ghana. The study focused on how the social and economic dimensions of housing, specifically, demand, control and material attributes (affordability, dwelling type) influence individuals’ attachment to their home as a refuge for daily living. A cross-sectional survey was administered to a randomly selected sample (n = 562) in three contrasting neighbourhoods. Overall, housing conditions, demand and control residents have to where they live, emerged as significant predictors of self reported general and mental health status. The influence of these variables superseded well known correlates of health status, income and educational attainment, attesting to their importance in a worsening housing environment. The findings point to the need for policy that recognizes that housing is not only a physical shelter but also an important health resource.