Housing wealth, psychological well-being, and cognitive functioning of older Americans

TitleHousing wealth, psychological well-being, and cognitive functioning of older Americans
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsHamoudi, A, Dowd, JB
JournalThe journals of gerontology. Series B, Psychological sciences and social sciences
KeywordsDemographics, Health Conditions and Status, Housing, Other

OBJECTIVES: Economic security around retirement age may be an important determinant of psychological and cognitive well-being of older adults. This study examines the impact of the dramatic increase in housing prices from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s on psychological and cognitive outcomes among Americans born between 1924 and 1960. METHOD: Our quasi-experimental empirical strategy exploits geographic differences in housing market price trends during the housing boom (from the mid-1990s until 2006). We use individual-level data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) and estimates of housing values from DataQuick, a California-based real estate consultancy firm, to estimate the association of housing price increases with psychological and cognitive outcomes at follow-up. RESULTS: Greater housing appreciation over the follow-up period was associated with a significantly lower risk of anxiety (for women) and an improved performance on some but not all cognitive tasks. Effects for depressive symptoms, positive and negative affect, and life satisfaction were all in the beneficial direction but not statistically significant. The effects of price run-ups were concentrated on homeowners, as opposed to renters, suggestive of wealth-driven effects. DISCUSSION: Housing market volatility may influence the psychological and cognitive health of older adults, highlighting potential health consequences of pro-home ownership policies, which may be especially important in light of recent dramatic housing price declines.


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Endnote Keywords

Core clinical journals/Index Medicus/Cognition/Housing/Mental health/Psychological health/Socioeconomic status/Geography

Endnote ID


Citation Key8076