EMBARGOED UNTIL: OCTOBER 20, 2011 AT 4:00 P.M. EST
University of Maryland School of Medicine researchers find mortgage default associated with substantially increased risk of depression
Researchers warn of a looming health crisis in the wake of rising mortgage delinquencies and home foreclosures. The study, released today in the American Journal of Public Health, is the first long-term survey of the impact the current housing crisis is having on older Americans. The study focused on adults over 50 and found high rates of depression among those behind in their mortgage payments and a higher likelihood of making unhealthy financial tradeoffs regarding food and needed prescription medications.
Story features Dr. Dawn Alley discussing the findings of the research on the link between mortgage delinquency and health issues. Video includes photographs from Philadelphia illustrative of the effects of the housing crisis in the United States as captured by the Health of Philadelphia Photo-documentation Project. NOTE: All photos must carry this credit line: Photos by Hannah Fruchtman Johnston for the Health of Phila. Photo-documentation Project
Dawn Alley, PhD
University of Maryland School of Medicine
What we found is that people who fell 2 or more months behind in their mortgage payment had a much greater likelihood of developing depressive symptoms, food insecurity or reporting there had been a time when they hadn't enough to eat in the last two years, an prescription drug non-adherance, due to costs, meaning they hadn't filled prescriptions for medicine that they needed because they said they didn't have the money (:
We know these problems are continuing, we have recent data released by the CDC that shows that the number of Americans with depression has been increasing along with rising unemployment and, here, as we saw, rising mortgage default levels.