The Impact of Housing Assistance on the Mental Health of Children in the United States

Andrew Fenelon, Natalie Slopen, Michel Boudreaux, Sandra J. Newman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Housing assistance policies may lead to improved mental health for children and adolescents by improving housing quality, stability, and affordability. We use a unique data linkage of the National Health Interview Survey and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development administrative data to examine the impact of housing assistance on parent-reported mental health outcomes for children ages 2 to 17 (N = 1,967). We account for selection into housing assistance using a pseudo-waitlist method that compares children receiving assistance to those who will enter housing assistance within two years of their interview. Compared to those in the pseudo-waitlist group, we find that children living in public housing have better mental health outcomes. We do not find similar benefits for children receiving vouchers. Our results suggest that housing assistance policies can have a positive impact on mental health among disadvantaged children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)447-463
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of health and social behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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