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Beyond the Great Recession: Was the Foreclosure Crisis Harmful to the Health of Individuals With Diabetes?

The housing foreclosure crisis was harmful to the financial well-being of many households. In the present study, we investigated the health effects of the housing foreclosure crisis on glycemic control within a population of patients with diabetes. We hypothesized that an increase in the neighborhood foreclosure rate could worsen glycemic control by activating stressors such as higher neighborhood crime, lower housing prices, and erosion of neighborhood social cohesion. To test this, we linked public foreclosure records at the census-block level with clinical records from 2006 to 2009 of patients with diabetes. We specified individual fixed-effects models and controlled for individual time-invariant confounders and area-level time-varying confounders, including housing prices and unemployment rate, to estimate the effect of the foreclosure rate per census-block group on glycated hemoglobin. We found no statistically significant relationship between changes in the neighborhood foreclosure rate per block group in the prior year and changes in glycated hemoglobin. There is no evidence that increased foreclosure rates worsened glycemic control in this continuously insured population with diabetes. More research is needed to inform our knowledge of the role of insurance and health-care delivery systems in protecting the health of diabetic patients during times of economic stress.

Authors: Downing J; Laraia B; Rodriguez H; Dow WH; Adler N; Schillinger D; Warton EM; Karter AJ

Am J Epidemiol. 2017 Mar 15;185(6):429-435.

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