External Built Residential Environment Characteristics that Affect Mental Health of Adults
Charles Ochodo, D. M. Ndetei, W. N. Moturi, J. O. Otieno
Journal of Urban Health
External built residential environment characteristics include aspects of building design such as types of walls, doors and windows, green spaces, density of houses per unit area, and waste disposal facilities. Neighborhoods that are characterized by poor quality external built environment can contribute to psychosocial stress and increase the likelihood of mental health disorders. This study investigated the relationship between characteristics of external built residential environment and mental health disorders in selected residences of Nakuru Municipality, Kenya. External built residential environment characteristics were investigated for 544 residents living in different residential areas that were categorized by their socioeconomic status. Medically validated interview schedules were used to determine mental health of residents in the respective neighborhoods. The relationship between characteristics of the external built residential environment and mental health of residents was determined by multivariable logistic regression analyses and chi-square tests. The results show that walling materials used on buildings, density of dwelling units, state of street lighting, types of doors, states of roofs, and states of windows are some built external residential environment characteristics that affect mental health of adult males and females. Urban residential areas that are characterized by poor quality external built environment substantially expose the population to daily stressors and inconveniences that increase the likelihood of developing mental health disorders.