Depressive symptoms of house-poor persons: Korean panel data evidence

Int J Soc Psychiatry. 2016 Sep;62(6):569-77. doi: 10.1177/0020764016653773. Epub 2016 Jun 30.


Background: There are no studies researching the relationship between house-poor persons and mental health. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the relationship between house-poor status and depressive symptoms.

Aim: To examine the relationship between the house-poor and depressive symptoms according to household income.

Methods: Data from the Korean Welfare Panel Study were used. House-poor were defined as people having possession with over 10% house-related interest in disposable income. About 7,565 participants over the age of 19 years were followed up from 2011 to 2013. The generalized estimating equations were used for analysis.

Results: Individuals with more house-related debt showed increasingly higher depression scores (possession with under 5% related debt to disposable income β = 0.2024, p = .1544; under 10% β = 0.7030, p = .0008; over 10% β = 1.3207, p < .0001). Individuals possessing houses with over 10% ratio of house-related debts to disposable income had higher depression scores than individuals without house ownership (no possession β = 0.8927, p < .0001).

Conclusion: Individuals without houses and individuals owning houses with higher percentages of house-related interests showed higher levels of depressive symptoms. Therefore, this study affirmed that the importance of considering the most vulnerable groups in addressing the mental health of individual.

Keywords: Depressive symptom; house tenure; house-poor; housing affordability.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Family Characteristics
  • Female
  • Housing / economics*
  • Humans
  • Income / statistics & numerical data*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Republic of Korea
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult