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Conference paper

COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing and stay-at-home rules have been associated with increased loneliness and loss of overall wellbeing. In some Australian States and Territories, non-essential workers were required to work from home and schools were closed for contact learning during the pandemic. This meant that residents spent more time than usual at their homes and immediate neighbourhoods. 

Poor quality housing can affect mental health directly, but especially when coupled with worry about affordability and housing security. Bower et al. (2021), for example, found that housing quality problems increased feeling of loneliness in Australia during COVID-19 pandemic because participants had more time to focus on housing problems. Other studies have found that lockdown rules affected feeling of loneliness, especially in younger age groups and people who were living alone, whereas being married or co-habiting reduced the odds of feeling lonely during the pandemic. Lockdown rules, and especially the ones that restricted movements e.g. to within 2.5km or 5km from home, increased the importance of characteristics of the neighbourhoods in affecting mental health. For instance, a recent Australian study found an association between higher levels of publicly accessible local green spaces and lower incidence of loneliness. 

Considering everything above, this study aimed to examine the extent to which housing quality, other housing attributes and neighbourhood characteristics contribute towards COVID-19 related loneliness in different household types.

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