Foreclosure may be hazardous to your health
Studies find link between foreclosures and stress-related health issues. Should health care be part of mortgage negotiations?
We know that foreclosures are bad for the health of a community. New research indicates they may be bad for the health of individuals as well.
Considering that economic woes can be very stressful that the poor health of a wage earner is often the reason a family's home goes into foreclosure, we could guess that there would be a correlation between health problems and foreclosures.
Janet Currie of Princeton University and Erdal Tekin of Georgia State University looked at foreclosures and health in Arizona, California, Florida and New Jersey, four states with a high rate of foreclosure.
"You see foreclosures having a general effect on the neighborhood," Currie told The Wall Street Journal. "Everybody's stressed out. There is a connection between people's economic well-being and their physical well-being."
In a separate study in 2008 of 250 people undergoing foreclosure, Craig E. Pollack of Johns Hopkins University and Julia F. Lynch of the University of Pennsylvania found that 32% of the study subjects missed doctor's appointments and 48% didn't fill prescriptions. More than a third reported symptoms of major depression.
Post continues below
Pollack and Lynch wrote in an op-ed piece in Sunday's New York Times:
Foreclosure is not just a metaphorical epidemic, but a bona fide public-health crisis. When breadwinners become ill, they miss work, lose their jobs, face daunting medical bills — and have trouble making mortgage payments as a result.
But that is only part of the story. A growing body of research shows that foreclosure itself harms the health of families and communities.
Currie and Tekin published their survey results in the National Bureau of Economic Research. They found that every additional 100 foreclosures brought:
- A 7.2% increase in emergency room visits and hospitalizations for hypertension.
- An 8.1% increase in diabetes among people 20 to 49.
- 12% more visits related to anxiety among people 20 to 49.
- 39% more visits for suicide attempts among people 20 to 49.
The researchers didn't find any increase in cancer or in elective surgeries in areas with more foreclosures, indicating that stress-related illnesses were the most likely result of increased foreclosures.
Neither study proved that foreclosures caused the health problems. People facing health problems often run into financial problems, and financial problems short of foreclosure also lead to stress and stress-related illnesses.
In their op-ed piece, Pollack and Lynch argued that solutions to the mortgage foreclosure crisis should include help with health issues. They write:
For one thing, the settlement negotiations with the financial services industry over mortgage fraud and abuse should include money for health care. Millions of Americans are locked into mortgages they can’t afford. If we can’t help them stay in their homes, the least we can do is help them stay alive.
The Forseclosure mess was caused by Wall Street and the Bush administration
Too much money too many non credit worthy people getting home loans. Wall street got bailed out, the Republicans saw to that.
Obama has tried to do everything to help the real people affected but he has been blocked at every turn by Repiglicans and tea baggers
Vote them out
No it's not bad for you health as you now have one less obligation to fulfill that you promised to pay. Sure you will feel a bit like trash for getting out of your obligation, but not to worry; the feeling will pass and you will have more money in your pocket at the end of the day.
What's bad for your health is continuing to throw your money away in the bank. The banks, in general, provide no incentive to save money for times like we are all experiencing and continue to come with more ways to get money out of its customers. Yet the banks have no shame in using depositors' money to invest and make more for themselves.
I'm thinking of BoA (Bank of Atrocity)
About Teresa Mears
Teresa Mears is a veteran journalist who has been interested in houses since her father took her to tax auctions to carry the cash at age 10. A former editor of The Miami Herald's Home & Design section, she lives in South Florida where, in addition to writing about real estate, she publishes Miami on the Cheap to help her neighbors adjust to the loss of 60% of their property value.