Debt Can Spur Depression, New Study Asserts

That high interest rate on your credit card could be giving you more than a headache. It could potentially make you clinically depressed.
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That’s the conclusion of a recent study conducted by the researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Institute for Research on Poverty.

Gleaning information from the National Survey of Families and Households in the U.S. and a series of regression models, study authors discovered household debt is positively correlated with a higher number of depressive symptoms. This was more true of short-term unsecured debt – like credit card debts or payday loans – as opposed to mid- or long-term debts, like mortgages or car payments.

Long-term debts might actually be considered a positive for some people, as they may be deemed good investments in the future. However, it should be pointed out that this data was collected in the late 1980s and early 1990s, which means housing debt might now in fact be a source of significantly more stress, especially if the home is not worth nearly as much as it used to be. That sense of financial security may no longer be what it was before the recession.

Also interesting was that the association was especially acute for those adults between the ages of 51 and 64 (those nearing retirement) with a high school diploma or less. It was also true for those not in a stable marriage for the duration of the study period (which was two separate two-year time frames).

The higher the short-term debt, the higher the stress levels.

Some of this, our debt lawyers in Miami know, is just common sense. People who take out lots of credit card debt or payday loans to cover basic expenses can find themselves in a cyclical financial problem where the concern for overdue bills is a constant stressor. Over time, of course that is going to erode one’s confidence, optimism and overall sense of well-being.

But what studies like this do is quantify that level of stress.

Other analyses has similarly linked high levels of debt with a poor quality of mental health. For example, people that owe money have triple the likelihood of a mental health problem than those who are debt-free. That’s according to a 2013 study conducted by British researchers with Kingston University and the University of Southampton.

And we may see these problems reverberate for some time when we consider that Americans took on more than $57 billion in credit card debt last year. That is a stunning 47 percent increase from what Americans borrowed from major creditors in 2013.

On one hand, it means consumers in the U.S. are more confident about the economy, and that’s a good thing. However, there is concern about whether people will have the means to keep up with those payments, especially as wages have largely remained stagnant during this time.

If you’re battling debt collection in Miami or the surrounding areas contact Jacobs Keeley for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (305) 358-7991. Also, don’t miss Miami Foreclosure Attorney Bruce Jacobs on 880AM/the Biz, every Tuesday at 6 p.m. on “Debt Warriors with Bruce Jacobs and Court Keeley,” discussing foreclosure topics that matter to YOU.

Additional Resources:
Does credit card debt lead to depression? May 4, 2015, By Tom Anderson, CNBC
More Blog Entries:
Florida Foreclosure Stress Manifests Itself in Health Problems, March 20, 2015, Miami Consumer Debt Lawyer Blog