Effects of housing environments on COVID-19 transmission and mental health revealed by COVID-19 Participant Experience data from the All of Us Research Program in the USA: A case-control study

Wenting Luo, Edwin Baldwin, Anna Yi Jiang, Shujuan Li, Bo Yang, Haiquan Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objectives To examine the association between housing types and COVID-19 infection (or mental health) during the early stages of the pandemic by using the large-scale individual-level All of Us Research Program COVID-19 Participant Experience (COPE) survey data. We hypothesise that housing types with a shared component are associated with elevated COVID-19 infection and subsequent mental health conditions. Design A retrospective case-control study. Setting Secondary analysis of online surveys conducted in the USA. Participants 62 664 participant responses to COPE from May to July 2020. Primary and secondary outcome measures Primary outcome measure is the self-reported COVID-19 status, and the secondary outcome measures are anxiety or stress. Both measures were applied for matched cases and controls of the same race, sex, age group and survey version. Results A multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that housing types with a shared component are significantly associated with COVID-19 infection (OR=1.19, 95% CI 1.1 to 1.3; p=2×10 -4), anxiety (OR=1.26, 95% CI 1.1 to 1.4; p=1.1×10 -6) and stress (OR=1.29, 95% CI 1.2 to 1.4; p=4.3×10 -10) as compared with free-standing houses, after adjusting for confounding factors. Further, frequent optional shopping or outing trips, another indicator of the built environment, are also associated with COVID-19 infection (OR=1.36, 95% CI 1.1 to 1.8; p=0.02), but not associated with elevated mental health conditions. Confounding factors are controlled in the analysis such as ethnicity, age, social distancing behaviour and house occupancy. Conclusion Our study demonstrates that houses with a shared component tend to have an increased risk of COVID-19 transmission, which consequently leads to high levels of anxiety and stress for their dwellers. The study also suggests the necessity to improve the quality of the built environment such as residential housing and its surroundings through planning, design and management, ensuring a more resilient society that can cope with future pandemics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere063714
JournalBMJ open
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 19 2022


  • COVID-19
  • health informatics
  • mental health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine

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