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.