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Conference Paper Social Action for Health and Wellbeing Conference

Intra-household Differences in Neighbourhood Attachment and their Associations with Health


Publication date

21 Jun 2002


In this chapter we used data from waves 8 to 10 (1998-2000) of the British Household Panel Survey to investigate intra-household differences in neighbourhood attachment and their relationships with health. Specifically, the sample contained 2,328 couples who were married in 1998 when a module of questions concerned with attachment and feelings about their neighbourhood were asked. A scale of neighbourhood attachment was constructed using six items from the module and this, along with the individual items, was used to identify differences in neighbourhood attachment between spouses. The health outcomes used were common mental illness derived from the 12-item General Health Questionnaire and poor self-rated health derived from a single Likert-type item.
(a) The individual-level analysis indicated that low levels of neighbourhood attachment were associated with higher risks of common mental illness and poorer self-rated health, although the associations with self-rated health were weaker.
(b) In the household-level analysis, differences in neighbourhood attachment were associated with higher risk of common mental illness in men when they had low levels of attachment. When both spouses had low levels of attachment the risk of common mental illness increased for both men and women. There were no significant effects on self-rated health.
(c) The chances of a subsequent onset of common mental illness were significantly higher in men when there was spousal disagreement over the level of neighbourhood attachment but this was not the case for women.
The results suggest that it is necessary to measure both spouses' level of neighbourhood attachment to obtain the correct interpretation of both cross-sectional associations with health and identifying precursors of changes in health.
Households were then matched to their marriage and residence changes over the following two years (waves 9 and 10). Low neighbourhood attachment in women, but not in men, was associated with a higher risk of separation or divorce as was low attachment in both spouses. Just one spouse having a low level of attachment doubled the likelihood of moving residence while low attachment in both spouses increased that likelihood by over five times. These results have potentially adverse implications for programmes intending to raise the stock of social capital in communities.

Related publications

  1. Intra-household differences in neighbourhood attachment and their associations with health

    David J. Pevalin

    1. Social Capital
    2. Health


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