Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the evidence on the extent to which personal debt impacts on mental health, and mental health on personal debt. Design/methodology/approach – The paper systematically reviews the English‐language, peer‐reviewed literature, 1980‐2009, drawing on 14 databases across the medical, business, legal, and social science fields. Findings – From 39,333 potential papers identified, 39,283 were excluded, and 50 were reviewed using a narrative analysis approach. Among nine longitudinal studies, three controlled for psychiatric morbidity or psychological wellbeing at baseline, income/wealth, and other socio‐economic variables. From these, two reported indebtedness or an increase in debt levels associated with subsequently poorer mental health, while one study found no such relationship. While methodological limitations make it difficult to definitively demonstrate whether indebtedness causes poorer mental health, plausible data exist which indicate that indebtedness may contribute to the development of mental health problems, and mediate accepted relationships between poverty, low income, and mental disorder. Research limitations/implications – Existing research either uses definitions of “debt” which lack specificity, or definitions of “mental health” which are too broad‐brushed. A more sensitive set of core questions is needed. Further longitudinal research is also a key priority. Practical implications – Those working with people with debt problems need to be aware of the potential risk of reduced mental wellbeing or mental disorder. Originality/value – The mental health of individuals living with indebtedness has become a recent concern for the health and financial services sectors. However, no systematic reviews have so far been conducted.
Mental Health Review Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Dec 9, 2011
Keywords: Debts; Poverty; Income; Mental health; Financial difficulty; Recession
It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.
Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.
All for just $49/month
Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly
Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.
Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.
Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.
All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.
“Hi guys, I cannot tell you how much I love this resource. Incredible. I really believe you've hit the nail on the head with this site in regards to solving the research-purchase issue.”Daniel C.
“Whoa! It’s like Spotify but for academic articles.”@Phil_Robichaud
“I must say, @deepdyve is a fabulous solution to the independent researcher's problem of #access to #information.”@deepthiw
“My last article couldn't be possible without the platform @deepdyve that makes journal papers cheaper.”@JoseServera