244198 Mortgage Delinquency, Health Status, and Unmet Needs: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 9:42 AM

Dawn Alley , Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD
Jennifer Lloyd , Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD
José A. Pagán, PhD , Department of Health Management and Policy, University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth, Fort Worth, TX
Craig Pollack, MD, MHS , Division of General Internal Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Michelle Shardell, PhD , Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Baltimore, MD
Carolyn Cannuscio, ScD , University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
The recent rise in mortgage default and foreclosure may have important health implications. Using data from the Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative survey of persons over age 50 (N=2,474), we evaluated associations between mortgage delinquency and changes in health and health-relevant resources over a 2-year period (2006-2008). We used logistic regression to compare changes in health (incidence of elevated depressive symptoms; major declines in self-rated health) and access to health-relevant resources (food and prescription medications) between participants who fell behind on their mortgage payments (mortgage delinquent) and homeowners who did not (housing secure). Compared to housing secure participants, those in the mortgage delinquent group had worse health status and poorer access to health-relevant resources at baseline. They were also significantly more likely to develop elevated depressive symptoms (odds ratio [OR]=8.71, 95% confidence interval [CI]=3.49-21.77), food insecurity (OR=7.64, 95%CI=3.08-18.98), and cost-related medication nonadherence (OR=8.88, 95%CI=3.66-21.58) during follow-up. Mortgage status remained associated with these outcomes after controlling for demographic variables, health behaviors, and changes in income and employment. These longitudinal findings demonstrate that mortgage delinquency is associated with significant risk of mental health impairments and health-relevant material disadvantage. Widespread mortgage default may have important public health implications.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the relationship between mortgage default and risk of declining health among older Americans

Keywords: Housing, Community Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am faculty at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, where I conduct research on health disparities and disability.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.