Eviction increases mental and physical health risk by 13, according to pioneering UGR research

Eviction increases mental and physical health risk by 13, according to pioneering UGR research

Eviction and health

Scientists at the University of Granada and the Andalusian School of Public Health have analyzed the effects of foreclosure on people’s health for the first time.

205 people currently undergoing eviction proceedings participated in the study. Of these, 59.5% (122) were women and 40.5% (83) were men.

Scientists at the University of Granada (UGR) and the Andalusian School of Public Health (EASP), found that those undergoing eviction from their home, whether rented or owned, exhibited worse physical and mental health than the general public.

Facing a mortgage foreclosure was shown to increase the probability of suffering from perceived poor health by 13 times (57.3% of the men and 80.9% of the women who participated in the study reported poor health). It also tripled the risk of suffering cardiovascular disease and nearly doubled the probability of tobacco use. The researchers also observed a greater proportion of individuals with depression, anxiety and other mental disorders among those who had been evicted.

Additionally, the researchers demonstrated that women undergoing an eviction process showed worse results than men in all of the areas analysed in the study, which was published in the latest issue of Gaceta Sanitaria.

Study of 205 evicted individuals

A total of 205 people currently in the process of eviction, of which 59.5% (122) were women and 40.5% (83) were men, participated in this pioneering study. 43.4% of the men and 55.7% of the women were between the ages of 36 and 50, representing a greater proportion of young people and women when compared with the general population of Andalusia.

Most of those who had faced an eviction and participated in the study (74.4% of the men and 53.9% of the women) were unemployed. Many of these participants had secondary level studies. In the case of the female participants, many had also studied at university. 45.8% of the men and 42.5% of the women had a total monthly household income of less than 500 euros.

The research team performed a cross-sectional study of people affected by the loss of their main residence using a survey administered by trained staff. All of them, on at least one occasion, had attended the weekly meetings of the Stop Evictions Platform in the city of Granada and its metropolitan area. The Stop Evictions Platform is a Spanish grassroots organization which works to fight evictions.

Increased tobacco use and sedentary lifestyles

The UGR and EASP study revealed that the use of tobacco is more frequent in men who have faced an eviction (56.8%) and women (48.2%) compared to the general population of Andalusia (42.5% and 29.8%, respectively). The difference was shown to be greater among women from both groups than among men. In addition, they found a greater percentage of people who remained totally inactive in their free time among those who underwent an eviction (50.4% of women and 35.8% of men compared to 28.6% of Andalusian women and 23.0% of Andalusian men generally).

The regular consumption of fruit was also less frequent among the men and women who went through an eviction (68.3% and 50%, respectively). Similar results were also shown regarding the consumption of vegetables (62.2% and 62.7%, respectively).

The authors of the study points out: “Given the importance of housing and related policies, such as determinants of health, it is fundamentally important to continue researching and generating new evidence regarding the relationship between health and evictions, using different methodological approaches in order to better understand the phenomenon.


The health of adults undergoing an eviction process Julia Bolívar Muñoz, Mariola Bernal Solano, Inmaculada Mateo Rodríguez, Antonio Daponte Codina, Cecilia Escudero Espinosa, Carmen Sánchez Cantalejo, Isis González Usera, Humbelina Robles Ortega, José Luis Mata Martín, M. Carmen Fernández Santaella, Jaime Vila Castellar Gaceta Sanitaria Volume 30, Issue 1, January–February 2016, Pages 4–10 doi:10.1016/j.gaceta.2015.10.002

Contact the research group:

Humbelina Robles Ortega

Department of Personality, Evaluation y Psychological Treatment at the University of Granada

Phone: +34 958249538 or +34 958243558

Email: hrobles@ugr.es

Julia Bolivar Muñoz

Andalusian School of Public Health

Email: julia.bolivar.easp@juntadeandalucia.es

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Unidad de Cultura Científica (UCC)

Oficina de Gestión de la Comunicación de la Universidad de Granada

Email: centeno@ugr.es | Phone: +34 958 244278