How Impactful is Housing Instability on Poor Caregiver, Child Health?

Of those surveyed 34% had experienced being behind on rent, made multiple moves, and/or history of homelessness
Of those surveyed 34% had experienced being behind on rent, made multiple moves, and/or history of homelessness

HealthDay News — Housing instability is associated with adverse caregiver and child health among low-income renter households, according to a study published online January 22 in Pediatrics.

Megan Sandel, MD, from the Boston Medical Center, and colleagues interviewed caregivers of children 0 to 48 months of age in five urban medical centers (May 2009 to December 2015) to assess caregiver health, maternal depressive symptoms, child's health, lifetime hospitalizations, developmental risk, and housing circumstances. 

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The researchers found that more than one-third of the 22,324 families had at least one of the following adverse housing circumstances: 27% had been behind on rent, 8% had made multiple moves, and 12% had a history of being homeless. There was little overlap between these circumstances, but compared with stable housing, each circumstance was individually associated with increased adjusted odds of adverse health and material hardship.

"Three forms of housing instability were associated with adverse caregiver and child health among low-income renter household," the authors write. "The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends social screening within health care; providers could consider assessing for behind on rent, multiple moves, and homelessness in high-risk practices."

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