Regardless of the amount of their income, people who report having more difficulty managing their debts have a higher risk of depression and anxiety.
- Worldwide, 5% of adults suffer from depression.
- Anxiety disorders are twice as prevalent in women as in men.
Previous research has linked financial strain during the pandemic to deteriorating mental health. Other cohorts have suggested that debt-related factors, such as worry and stress, may have a greater impact on mental health than the actual amount of debt. However, the association between perceived ability to cope with debt and mental health has not been clearly established.
Mental health: 2,058 adults questioned about managing their debts
This is why researchers from the University of Ulster, in Northern Ireland, decided to carry out a study published in the journal Plos One. To carry out their work, they analyzed data from a survey, entitled “Covid-19 Psychological Research Consortium Study Wave 6”. This survey was conducted among 2,058 Britons in August and September 2021. Scientists asked participants to rate the extent to which they felt their debts could be repaid, to indicate whether they were undergoing treatment for health problems mental health and answer simple questions to assess their anxiety and depression.
Debt is a threat to mental health
According to the results, almost a quarter of the sample, or 494 adults, said they had difficulty managing their debts. This difficulty with debt management was associated with higher levels of anxiety and depression. These participants were also more likely to receive treatment for mental health issues.
According to the authors, this study shows a relationship between difficulties in managing debt and mental health problems. They reported that debt was a threat to mental health. “Psychological disorders related to debt are not limited to low-income people. Regardless of your salary, it is your perception of your ability to manage your debts that is important”, concluded the team in a statement.