The consequences of foreclosure for depressive symptomatology

Theresa L. Osypuk, Cleopatra Howard Caldwell, Robert W. Platt, Dawn P. Misra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Purpose: We tested whether experiencing the stressful event of a home mortgage foreclosure was associated with depressive symptomatology. Methods: Data derive from a cohort study of 662 new mothers in the Life-course Influences on Fetal Environment (LIFE) Study. Eligibility included black/African-American mothers, ages 18 to 45 years, who had just given birth to a singleton baby. Mothers enrolled June 2009 to December 2010 were interviewed immediately after giving birth. Our outcome measure was depressive symptoms based on the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale, dichotomized to measure severe depressive symptomatology during the week prior to the interview. Results: A total of 8% of the sample experienced foreclosure in the past 2 years. Covariate-adjusted Poisson regression models showed that women experiencing a recent foreclosure had 1.76 times greater risk for severe depressive symptoms during the week prior to birth compared to women not experiencing foreclosure (95% confidence interval 1.25-2.47, . p = .001); foreclosure was also associated with higher excess absolute risk for depressive symptoms (adjusted risk difference 0.173, 95% confidence interval 0.044-0.301, . p = .008). Conclusions: Women who have recently experienced foreclosure are at risk for severe depressive symptoms. The mental health needs of pregnant women experiencing foreclosure or other housing stressors should be considered in clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)379-387
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of epidemiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Study funding was provided by NIH NICHD grant R01HD058510 (PI, Dr. Misra). The NIH funders had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; and preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript. All authors had full access to all of the data in the study and take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. Dr. Osypuk had full access to all aspects of the research and writing process, and takes final responsibility for the paper. Dr. Osypuk conceived of the research question, conducted the data analysis, wrote the majority of the manuscript, and contributed to the design of the study questionnaire. Dr. Misra oversaw the study design, study enrollment and data collection, edited the manuscript, and contributed to the interpretation of results. Drs. Caldwell and Platt contributed to the study design, interpretation of results, and edited the manuscript, and Dr. Platt advised on the statistical methods. All authors declare that none of us have conflicts of interest, financial or nonfinancial interests to declare that may be relevant to the current work. We are grateful to all of our participants who trusted us to use these data to better understand the problem of adverse birth outcomes for African-American women. We appreciate the hard work of our research assistants who conducted the interviews and medical record abstractions. We also acknowledge the work of our project manager, Dr. Rhonda Dailey, MD (Research Associate, Wayne State University), whose careful attention to collection of valid and reliable data was essential to development of this manuscript. Dr. Platt is supported by a research scholar award from the Fonds de Recherche en Santé du Québec.


  • Childbirth
  • Depressive Symptoms
  • Housing


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