18 Jan

stress

Study reveals homeowners have lower stress levels than renters

The type of house you are living in may be causing you stress, according to a new study.

Researchers from Essex University say they have revealed a link between housing type and tenure and stress and inflammation levels, particularly for those who live in insecure or low-quality housing.

The study found that those who live in rented flats have demonstrably higher stress levels than homeowners or those who live in detached properties.

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Researchers looked for blood markers

The research team tested participants for the presence of the biological marker C-reactive protein (CRP), which shows elevated levels in the blood in response to stress, injury and infection.

Medics look for elevated levels of CRP when diagnosing heart disease and chronic inflammatory conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and arthritis.

The Essex study examined blood samples from more than 9,500 adults across the UK who had also provided information on their housing. One in five (22 percent) were shown to have elevated levels of CRP in their blood.

But those levels were revealed to be higher in those participants who live in affordable housing and in private rentals.

Homeowners, whether with or without a mortgage, showed lower levels of CRP.

Higher levels of CRP were also shown in the blood of those who receive housing benefit, with the researchers revealing their CRP levels were twice those of participants not on benefits.

Negative effects from property insecurity

Dr Amy Clair, of the Institute for Social and Economic Research at Essex, is the author the study, which has been published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

She said: “Higher CRP, indicating worse health, is found among those living in the private rented sector.

“This finding supports arguments for greater consideration of the negative effects of the current private rented market in the UK, characterised by greater insecurity, higher cost and lower quality than is typically found in other tenures.

“The significant findings for housing type and tenure point to an influence of autonomy and control. Where control is low, the sense of security is reduced, which may affect health through chronic stress responses.”