Dampness and mold in the home and depression: an examination of mold-related illness and perceived control of one's home as possible depression pathways

Am J Public Health. 2007 Oct;97(10):1893-9. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2006.093773. Epub 2007 Aug 29.


Objectives: We evaluated a previously reported association between residence in a damp and moldy dwelling and the risk of depression and investigated whether depression was mediated by perception of control over one's home or mold-related physical illness.

Methods: We used survey data from 8 European cities. A dampness and mold score was created from resident- and inspector-reported data. Depression was assessed using a validated index of depressive symptoms.

Results: Dampness or mold in the home was associated with depression (odds ratio [OR]=1.39, 1.44, and 1.34, for minimal, moderate, and extensive exposure, respectively, compared with no exposure). This association became attenuated when perception of control (OR=1.34, 1.40, and 1.24; global P=.069) or a physical health index (OR = 1.32, 1.37, and 1.15; global P= .104) was included in the model. The mediation effects of perception of control over one's home and by physical health appeared to be additive.

Conclusions: Dampness and mold were associated with depression, independent of individual and housing characteristics. This association was independently mediated by perception of control over one's home and by physical health.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / adverse effects*
  • Depression / etiology*
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Fungi*
  • Health Surveys
  • Housing*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Urban Population