About 28 percent of those who were behind on their mortgage payments reported food insecurity, meaning that they worried about not having enough food, compared to 4 percent in the non-delinquent group.
About 32 percent of those who were behind on their mortgage said they didn't take medications as prescribed because of costs, compared to 5 percent of those who were able to make their mortgage payments.
"Depression, not taking medications and not spending enough money on nutritious food can exacerbate conditions you already have," Alley said.
Some states were hit harder than others, including California, Arizona, Nevada and Florida, which made up 51 percent of all foreclosure filings in 2008, according to another new study about the impact of foreclosure on health that will be published in Nursing Outlook.
In that study, University of Pennsylvania researchers surveyed 800 residents of those states and found that homeowners in default or foreclosure had poorer mental health and more symptoms of poor health than renters and homeowners not in arrears.
While much of the focus has been on what foreclosure does to a family's financial health, said Rebecca Cohen, a senior research associate at the Center for Housing Policy, a nonprofit research organization, more attention needs to be paid to the impact of impending foreclosure on mental and overall health.
"Their findings absolutely corroborate everything that we have been learning about in terms of the impacts that housing affordability challenges and instability have on people's health, both mental and physical," Cohen said. "It's an issue of lack of resources and the choices people make in allocating scarce budgetary resources. If you are having a hard time paying your mortgage, you may have a hard time paying for your medications or buying healthy food."
The research found that people with a low income and minorities were
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