The consequences of foreclosure for depressive symptomatology

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 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 1 2012
Externally publishedYes



  • Childbirth
  • Depressive Symptoms
  • Housing

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