a possible research program

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The purpose of this paper will be to explore a possible research program related to substandard housing and its effects on the children.  In this paper I will discuss the problem, literature found pertaining to the subject, proposed methodology to include study design, population, sampling methods, data collect, variable, data analysis, and limitations of the study.

Problem Statement

The overriding goal of the public health sector and all its stakeholders is to prevent disease and promote health, a universal mission that Stover and Bassett (2003) note concerns all the multiple parties involved in public health. However, substandard housing may be detracting from the achievement of public health’s noble goals in disease prevention and health promotion. The statistics on poor housing in the U.S. are alarming, with 6.1 million households living in overcrowded conditions while one out of every seven poverty-stricken families lived in extremely inadequate housing by 2004 (Joint Center for Housing Studies, 2013). With increasing wealth gaps and no recovery in housing cost burdens as of 2013, the quality of housing must have deteriorated significantly (Joint Center for Housing Studies, 2013). As of 2009, Thrivent Financial noted that more than 11 million Americans could have been facing worst case housing needs, of which 3.6 million were children, 1.6 million the elderly, and 1.3 million disabled individuals. From such observations, it is evident that any problems associated with substandard housing and living conditions would be quite significant and in need of urgent attention.

Meanwhile, a number of scholars have suggested that a correlation exists between substandard housing and health status. For example, Krieger and Higgins (2002) associated substandard housing conditions with health problems such as asthma, respiratory infections, lead poisoning, and injuries, leading to a conclusion that housing was a social determinant contributing to significant morbidity and mortality. Evans, Wells, Chan, and Saltzman (2000) suggested a link between housing and mental health, which would predict that people living in substandard places of residence would be at higher risks of developing mental health problems. In this case, the alarming statistics on substandard housing in the U.S. become more pertinent as they suggest a major public health challenge requiring urgent intervention. From these observations, public health practitioners should target housing quality improvements as a way of achieving healthy population goals. However, Ruel, Oakley, and Maddox (2010) pondered whether the noted relationship between poor housing and health might only occur because such housing projects attract a disproportionate population of the unhealthy poor. Here, the cause of poor health among people residing in poor houses might be among the population rather than because of the housing conditions.

As a result, the issue remains fuzzy, prompting efforts to establish or refute the link between housing and health authoritatively to inform public health practice. Conducting research in this topic will help establish short-term and long-term practice guidelines, including whether treatment and prevention of disease before and during residence is more urgent than improving housing conditions in the short-term. Through adding to the literature available on the link between housing standards and health, the study will inform and support evidence-based practice in public health. In case the null hypothesis is refuted, the current study will inform future research into how substandard housing causes poor physical and mental health, which represents a step beyond confirming a correlation between the two issues. Further, the study’s findings will add impetus to public health efforts to solve problems related to poor housing and health.


Research Question and Hypothesis

Does substandard housing in Owsley County, Kentucky predict poor physical and mental health in school age children?

Literature Review

Lack of Scientific Literature/studies pertaining just to Appalachia/Kentucky region: (possible site articles)

  1. http://articles.philly.com/1994-08-19/news/25841565_1_outhouses-drinking-water-wooden-home
  2. https://sites.google.com/a/cypanthers.org/appalachia-america-s-forgotten-people/Home/how-to-help
  3. http://blog.wisteria.com/2009/11/christian-appalachian-project-december-2009/
  4. good stats in this article with references http://www.appalachiantransition.org/sites/ati/files/essays/Jim%20King%20Essay%20FINAL.pdf
  5. http://www.berea.edu/brushy-for.............