A new study has found a connection between mouldy homes and depression. The study by Brown University epidemiologist Edmond Shenass and his team aimed at debunking the notion that there is a link between mould and mood.
However, the team was surprised to see that there is a ‘solid relationship’ between the two.
“We thought that once we statistically accounted for factors that could clearly contribute to depression – things like employment status and crowding – we would see any link vanish,” said Shenassa, the lead author of the study and an associate professor in the Department of Community Health at Brown.
“But the opposite was true. We found a solid association between depression and living in a damp, mouldy home,” he added.
Shenassa noted the study, an analysis of data from nearly 6,000 European adults, does not prove that mouldy homes cause depression. The study wasn’t designed to draw that direct conclusion.
However, Shenassa’s team did find a connection, one likely driven by two factors. One factor is a perceived lack of control over the housing environment. The other are mould-related health problems such as wheezing, fatigue and a cold or throat illness.
The study was a statistical analysis of data from the Large Analysis and Review of European Housing and Health Status (LARES), a survey on housing, health and place of residence conducted in 2002 and 2003 by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Shenassa’s team analyzed LARES data from 5,882 adults in 2,982 households.
“What the study makes clear is the importance of housing as indicator of health, including mental health. Healthy homes can promote healthy lives,” Shenassa said.
The study is published in the American Journal of Public Health.