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Unmanageable debt can lead to health concerns

Once an individual's debt has surpassed his or her ability to make good on those financial obligations, the result is a high level of chronic stress. A recent study asserts that it is not just debt in general, but the specific type of debt one holds that can have an impact on their emotional health. These findings suggest that addressing unmanageable debt could have positive results on both financial and emotional health of consumers in California and elsewhere.

The study looked at survey data collected from 13,000 individuals in the late 1980s, as well as follow-up surveys conducted with those same individuals in 1992-1994. Participants were between the ages of 21 and 65. The results of the study were published in a recent edition of the Journal of Family and Economic Issues.

Researchers found that individuals who took on short-term debt were more likely to experience depression than those who held long-term debt. Short-term debt includes things such as credit card debt or overdue monthly bills. For the purposes of this study, long-term debt includes mortgages, vehicle loans and other large debts that are paid off over a lengthy period of time.

Researchers found that individuals who took on a 10 percent increase in short-term debt experienced a 24 percent rise in symptoms of depression. This is a significant finding, and suggests that assuming high levels of debt that might not be part of one's long-term financial plans could lead to emotional issues for some consumers. While each individual circumstance is unique, this and similar research may prompt many in California to research aggressive solutions to unmanageable debt, up to and including filing for personal bankruptcy.  

Source:, "How the Type of Debt You Have Could Contribute to Depression", May 14, 2015

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