Scientists at the University of Granada (UGR) and the Andalusian School of Public Health (EASP), found that those undergoing eviction from their residence, whether rented or owned, demonstrated worse physical and mental health than the general population.
Specifically, facing a mortgage foreclosure was shown to increase the probability of suffering noticeable poor health by 13 times (57.3% of the men and 80.9% of the women that participated in the study reported poor health). It also tripled the risk of suffering cardiovascular disease and nearly doubled the use of tobacco. The researchers also observed a greater proportion of individuals with depression, anxiety and other mental disorders among those who were evicted.
Additionally, women who underwent eviction showed a worse result than men in all the criteria analysed according to the study, which was published in the latest issue of Gaceta Sanitaria.
Study of 205 evicted individuals
A total of 205 people currently in the process of eviction, of which 59.5% (122) were women and 40.5% (83) were men, participated in the pioneering study. 43.4% of the men and 55.7% of the women were between the ages of 36 and 50, representing a greater proportion of young people and women than the general population of Andalusia.
Most of those who had faced an eviction and participated in the study (74.4% of the men and 53.9% of the women) were unemployed. Many of them had a secondary level education, though, in the case of the women, had also studied at university. For 45.8% of the men and 42.5% of the women, the total monthly household income was less than 500 euros.
The research team performed a cross-sectional study of people affected by the loss of their main residence using a survey administered by trained personnel. All of them, on at least one occasion, had attended the weekly meetings of the Stop Evictions Platform in the city of Granada and its metropolitan area. The Stop Evictions Platform is a Spanish grassroots organisation which works to fight evictions.
Increased tobacco use and inactivity
The UGR and EASP study revealed that the use of tobacco is more frequent in men who have faced an eviction (56.8%) and women (48.2%) compared to the general population of Andalusia (42.5% and 29.8%, respectively). The difference was shown to be greater among women from both groups than among men.
In addition, there was a greater percentage of people who remained totally sedentary in their free time among those who underwent an eviction (50.4% of women and 35.8% of men compared to 28.6% of Andalusian women and 23.0% of Andalusian men generally).
The regular consumption of fruit was also less frequent among the men and women who went through an eviction (68.3% and 50%, respectively). Similar results were also shown regarding the consumption of vegetables (62.2% and 62.7%, respectively).
The authors of the study warn that given the importance of housing and the related political issues as health factors, it appears necessary to continue to research and generate new evidence regarding the relationship between health and evictions using different methodological approaches in order to better understand the phenomenon.
This article first appeared on ‘Medical News Today’ on 8 April 2016.