We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Black mould growing in a rental home. Alamy Stock Photo
esri report

Poor housing affects mothers' and kids' mental health and relationship with each other

The ESRI said inadequate housing is directly affecting relationships within the family.

MOTHERS LIVING IN inadequate housing and poorer quality neighbourhoods have reported more depression, find parenting more stressful, and suffer from greater levels of conflict with their children, a new ESRI report has found.

The report uses data from the Growing Up in Ireland (GUI) study, from families of children born in 2008.

The children of the mothers surveyed that suffered from these issues are reported to face greater social and emotional difficulties at the age of nine.

The report states that this is due to the impact of inadequate housing on their mothers’ wellbeing directly impacts their children’s wellbeing. 

The ESRI report defines “inadequate housing” as including damp conditions, lack of heating or inadequate size. “Poorer quality neighbourhoods” refer to areas with more disorder and fewer social supports. 

Mothers affected by these issues often have a more hostile parenting style, find parenting more stressful, and report poorer quality relationships with their partner. Mothers who spend more time in privately rented homes, compared to an owned home, report similar issues, as well as depressive symptoms.

Neighbourhood quality is also strongly linked to mothers’ wellbeing.

Lead author of the report, Dr James Laurence, said that making housing quality a key part of new builds across Ireland, and improving conditions of existing housing, will lead to long-term benefits for families.

“Poorer quality housing and neighbourhoods appear to put significant strain on parents’ social and emotional wellbeing, with worrying implications for the wellbeing of their children,” he said.

While much of the debate in Ireland has focused on supply, this report shows how the quality of housing and the communities in which people live are also critical for families’ wellbeing”

The report found that income is the main driver of housing and neighbourhood quality. Low-income families are more likely to live in homes which are unsuitable, to struggle to heat their homes and to live in areas that may be susceptible to greater levels of disorder.

Lone-parent families and families in which parents have a disability are also experiencing poorer quality housing, with this being put down to an exclusion from working. Similarly, families in which a child has a disability are more likely to be in unsuitable homes and poorer quality neighbourhoods.

The ESRI report stated that some migrant-origin families, even taking account of their income levels, are more likely to experience inadequate housing.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel