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Project exploring impact of people’s living spaces on their mental wellbeing urges psychologists to get their voices heard

21 January 2022

BPS members are being encouraged to attend an online seminar next month exploring the link between people’s homes and their mental health and wellbeing.

Chartered BPS member Dr Emily Pattinson is among researchers who will be presenting preliminary findings of a national survey and family interviews, which informs a study into the uneven psychological and social impact of domestic space during the pandemic on children, young people and their families.

Delegates will also have the opportunity to inform ongoing work on the project – At Home with Children – due for completion in the summer.

Dr Pattinson urged members to attend the free seminar saying:

“Psychologists are well placed to comment on how domestic space can impact mental health and wellbeing and are important gatekeepers to help influence social policy.

"They are at the frontline of supporting people through this pandemic. Those members of our profession who work with children and families are uniquely placed to positively influence the resources we plan to produce, resources which could support their practice.”

Dr Pattinson was brought onto the multidisciplinary research study team, led by Professor Rosie Parnell, to provide insight from a psychological and behavioural perspective around child and family wellbeing. Despite the ideal of home as a “haven”, people’s domestic space can also be a place of family conflict and negotiation, Professor Parnell said. 

Dr Pattinson added:

“The idea of a ‘new normal’ that includes schooling and working from home demands a re-think of domestic space design as dwellings for children and their families are stretched beyond original capacities, affecting mental health, productivity and wellbeing."

Informed by a survey of around 1,000 families in England and Scotland, as well as interviews with family members, the study aims to provide an evidence-based framework which will be used to evaluate current domestic standards for new housing in the UK. In addition, it is planned to produce a Home Hack Liveability Toolkit – a resource for families to ensure the best home set-up to protect their health and wellbeing.

The At Home with Children study is funded by the UKRI/AHRC Covid-19 Rapid Response Fund. It has been conducted by researchers from Newcastle University and the University of Dundee.

The conference takes place on February 15. 

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