University of Oulu

Nina Rautio, Svetlana Filatova, Heli Lehtiniemi, and Jouko Miettunen. Living environment and its relationship to depressive mood: A systematic review. International Journal of Social Psychiatry Vol 64, Issue 1, pp. 92–103.

Living environment and its relationship to depressive mood : a systematic review

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Author: Rautio, Nina1,2,3; Filatova, Svetlana1,3; Lehtiniemi, Heli1,3;
Organizations: 1Center for Life Course Health Research, P.O. Box 5000, 90014 University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Unit of Primary Health Care, Oulu University Hospital, P.O. Box 20, 90029 OYS, Oulu, Finland
3Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, P.O. Box 5000, 90014 Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: SAGE Publications, 2018
Publish Date: 2018-09-11


Background and aims: The notion that environment affects mental health has a long history; in this systematic review, we aimed to study whether the living environment is related to depressive mood.

Methods: We searched databases of PubMed, Scopus and Web of Science for population-based original studies prior to October 2016. We included studies that measured depressive symptoms or depression and had measures of urbanization, population density, aesthetics of living environment, house/built environment, green areas, walkability, noise, air pollution or services.

Results: Out of 1,578 articles found, 44 studies met our inclusion criteria. Manual searches of the references yielded 13 articles, resulting in 57 articles being included in the systematic review. Most of the studies showed statistically significant associations with at least one of the characteristics of living environment and depressive mood. House and built environment with, for example, poor housing quality and non-functioning, lack of green areas, noise and air pollution were more clearly related to depressive mood even after adjustment for different individual characteristics. On the contrary, the results in relation to population density, aesthetics and walkability of living environment, and availability of services and depressive mood were more inconsistent.

Conclusion: Adverse house/built environment, including poor housing quality and non-functioning, lack of green spaces, noise and air pollution are related to depressive mood and should be taken into account during planning in order to prevent depressive mood.

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Series: International journal of social psychiatry
ISSN: 0020-7640
ISSN-E: 1741-2854
ISSN-L: 0020-7640
Volume: 64
Issue: 1
Pages: 92 - 103
DOI: 10.1177/0020764017744582
Type of Publication: A2 Review article in a scientific journal
Field of Science: 3141 Health care science
Funding: This work was supported by the Academy of Finland [#268336] and the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program [under grant agreement No 633595] for the DynaHEALTH action and by the European Commission (Grant LIFECYCLE—H2020— 733206). This work was also a part of The Six City Strategy. The Six City Strategy runs between 2014 and 2020 with the aim of creating new know-how, business and jobs in Finland. It is part of Finland’s structural fund programme for sustainable growth and jobs 2014–2020. It is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Finnish Government and the participating cities.
EU Grant Number: (633595) DYNAHEALTH - Understanding the dynamic determinants of glucose homeostasis and social capability to promote Healthy and active aging
(733206) LIFECYCLE - Early-life stressors and LifeCycle health
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 268336
Detailed Information: 268336 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: Copyright © 2018 SAGE Publications. Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications. The version of record is available online at