Dampness and Mold in the Home and Depression: An Examination of Mold-Related Illness and Perceived Control as Possible Pathways pp. 363-378
Authors: (Edmond D. Shenassa, Constantine Daskalakis, Allison Liebhaber, Matthias Braubach, MaryJean Brown, Maternal & Child Health Program, School of Public Health, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland)
Abstract: Little is known regarding pathways between housing conditions and mental health. Studies have found independent associations between general housing quality, at both the neighborhood and individual levels, with psychological distress and depression. Dose–response associations have been found between the number of housing problems and residents‘ emotional problems and between the degree of housing improvement and alleviation of psychological distress. Several specific housing characteristics, including overcrowding, noise, indoor air quality, housing type, and floor level have also been associated with residents‘ mental health. We studied a less intuitive association, that of damp and moldy conditions within a dwelling and depressive symptoms. Molds are fungi that are found in many environments but grow best in warm, damp, and humid conditions. Therefore, dwellings that have problems with dampness also commonly have problems with mold. Although the physical health sequelae of residence in a damp and moldy dwelling have been relatively well investigated, the effect of living in such an environment on mental health has not.