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Nurs Outlook. 2012 May-Jun;60(3):134-42, 142.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.outlook.2011.08.004. Epub 2011 Oct 13.

Housing strain, mortgage foreclosure, and health.

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  • 1Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion, Philadelphia VA Medical Center and Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104-4217, USA.



Foreclosure rates have risen rapidly since 2005, reaching historically high levels. The purpose of this study was to examine the health implications of the current housing crisis.


We conducted a cross-sectional online consumer panel survey including residents of California, Arizona, Nevada, and Florida (n = 798) to determine the feasibility of contacting distressed homeowners via the Internet and to assess mental and physical health among respondents across the spectrum from those having no housing strain to those in loan default or home foreclosure.


Homeowners in default or foreclosure exhibited poorer mental health and more physical symptoms than renters, homeowners with moderate strain, and homeowners with no strainöfollowing a gradient that was consistent across multiple health indicators.


Internet panel sampling was an efficient method of contacting distressed homeowners. Record-high foreclosure rates may have broad implications for nursing and public health. Homeowners in default or foreclosure represent an identifiable high-risk group that may benefit from coordinated, affordable health and social services.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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