There is no doubt that financial hardship is an extreme stress on a person’s life. For many, it is hard to understand how our bodies actually work. Why would delinquency regarding mortgage payments mean that someone is more likely to be physically unhealthy?
It’s an important question to ask, and one that researchers reportedly studied. They came up with some startling answers, basically saying that those who have faced foreclosure or are battling the loss of their homes are at risk of health problems. This means that the foreclosure crisis isn’t just about economic health; it’s about community health, too.
The study appears in the American Journal of Public Health and identifies the following trends among consumers ages 50 and up who couldn’t keep up with their mortgage payments between 2006 and 2008:
- More symptoms of depression
- More worry about being able to provide food for self and family
- Less likelihood of following doctors’ suggestions regarding taking prescription medications
Researchers behind the study suggest that consumers are more worried about the pressure of staying in their homes and making payments than they are about their health. The threat of losing one’s home seems more immediate than some health threats.
But, when left untreated, depression and other health problems that need prescription drug treatment can mean bigger, emergency health issues in the future. Not only can those health problems reduce the quality of life, but they can become more expensive to treat, further adding to the financial stress that consumers already face.
This study definitely supports the argument that the foreclosure crisis and process have to be figured out as soon as possible. As we have previously said, homes are more than just roofs and walls. They are security and stability. Now, it also sounds like they are representations of mental and physical health.
USA Today: “Study: Foreclosure crisis threatening Americans’ health,” Jenifer Goodwin, Oct. 21, 2011