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Study: late mortgage payments linked to health issues

There is no question that the housing market has had an effect on the nation's financial health. Foreclosures across Ohio have caused a drop in housing prices. The financial markets have also suffered from the effects of the housing market. Now new research indicates that the economic crisis is affecting the nation's overall health. That is medical health, in addition to the nation's financial health.

Foreclosures are not the only problem Ohio residents have suffered during the economic downturn. Increased debt and lower incomes are common across the country since the Great Recession stalled the American economy. The new research, published in the American Journal of Public Health, shows that among adults who are delinquent on their mortgage payments, the rate of depression is higher than those who are current on their mortgages.

The study's principal researcher, Dr. Dawn Alley, says that in recent years, the combination of higher unemployment and the mortgage crisis has had an adverse effect on the medical health of Americans. Federal statistics apparently back up the study's findings. Dr. Alley says "Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the number of Americans with depression has been increasing along with rising unemployment."

The study statistics show that roughly 22 percent of the study participants who were delinquent on their mortgage showed symptoms of depression. That compares to only 3 percent of the participants who were not late on their mortgage payments.

Albert Reece, dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine says the study raises an issue that up until now has been lingering under the radar. He adds the study's findings show that the issue "threatens to become a major public health crisis if not addressed."

Source: NBC Washington, "Foreclosures Harming Nation's Health: Study," Oct. 24, 2011

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