'Beyond four walls'. The psycho-social benefits of home: Evidence from West Central Scotland

Ade Kearns, Rosemary Hiscock, Anne Ellaway, Sally Macintyre

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221 Citations (SciVal)


This paper reviews the literatures on housing and ontological security and the meaning of the home in order to derive specific examples of the psycho-social benefits of the home which can be assessed through empirical research. A postal survey measuring these psycho-social benefits was distributed to a random sample of adults in eight local authority districts in West Central Scotland. From the responses to the survey, three factors were constructed relating to the home as a haven, as a locus of autonomy and as a source of status for the occupants. Multivariate analysis showed that housing tenure is less important as an influence upon the attainment of psycho-social benefits from the home than the neighbourhood context and the incidence of problems with the home. Further, those factors negatively associated with psycho-social benefits appear to be more important than those factors positively associated with such benefits. This suggests that future research should focus on the fact that what detracts from psycho-social benefits may be more important than what contributes to them. A further important finding is that, after controlling for other influences, people living alone derive more benefits from the home as a haven and as a locus of autonomy than people in multi-person households.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-410
Number of pages24
JournalHousing Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies


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