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

Ade Kearns, Rosemary Hiscock, Anne Ellaway, Sally Macintyre

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

181 Citations (Scopus)


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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