Objectives: We evaluated associations between mortgage delinquency and changes in health and health-relevant resources over 2 years, with data from the Health and Retirement Study, a longitudinal survey representative of US adults older than 50 years. Methods: In 2008, participants reported whether they had fallen behind on mortgage payments since 2006 (n=2474). 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, prescription medications) between participants who fell behind on their mortgage payments and those who did not. Results: Compared with nondelinquent participants, the mortgage-delinquent group had worse health status and less access to health-relevant resources at baseline. They were also significantly more likely to develop incident depressive symptoms (odds ratio [OR]=8.60; 95% confidence interval [CI]=3.38, 21.85), food insecurity (OR=7.53; 95% CI=3.01, 18.84), and cost-related medication nonadherence (OR=8.66; 95% CI=3.72, 20.16) during follow-up. Conclusions: Mortgage delinquency was associated with significant elevations in the incidence of mental health impairments and health-relevant material disadvantage. Widespread mortgage default may have important public health implications.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health