Psychological effects of mould and damp in the home: scoping review

Samantha Brooks, Sonny S. Patel, Dale Weston, Neil Greenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

Abstract

People spend a substantial amount of time at home, so it is important that homes are safe, healthy environments. Damp and mould represent common housing problems but little is known about their potential psychological effects. This scoping review explores existing literature on the relationship between household damp/mould and psychological wellbeing. Systematic searches of six databases were conducted, supplemented by hand-searches. Thirty studies were included; 21/24 (87.5%) found significant univariate associations between damp/mould and psychological outcomes and 13/17 (76.5%) found that damp/mould remained significant independent predictors in multivariate analyses. Qualitative data from six studies revealed that participants feared potential physical health consequences of damp/mould and felt self-conscious about clothes/homes smelling damp. Our findings suggest that exposure to damp and mould accounts for a significant amount of variance in psychological outcomes. Improving housing quality, ensuring healthcare professionals are aware of the psychological health effects of damp/mould and campaigns to educate the public about how to remove damp and mould may be useful.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHOUSING STUDIES
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2023

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