September 10, 2013

Add Health Study: The High Price of Debt


Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, researchers from Northwestern University and McGill University have discovered a connection between household financial debt and poor physical and mental health.  The research team of Elizabeth Sweet, Arijit Nandi, Emma K. Adam, and Thomas W. McDade found that young adults aged 24-32 with high debt (individuals would remain in debt even after liquidating all their assets) are more likely to have higher diastolic blood pressure and lower self-reported mental and physical health. 

Read the HuffPost Healthy Living story here:  Debt Linked with High Blood Pressure, Poor Health Among Young Adults: Study (released on August 19, 2013). 

Excerpt:  “’You wouldn’t necessarily expect to see associations between debt and physical health in people who are so young,’ study researcher Elizabeth Sweet, assistant professor of medical social sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said in a statement. ‘We need to be aware of this association and understand it better. Our study is just a first peek at how debt may impact physical health.’”

Elizabeth Sweet, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Feinberg School of Medicine’s Department of Medical Social Sciences at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois.  Arijit Nandi, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Occupation Health and the Institute for Health and Social Policy at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec.  Emma K. Adam, Ph.D., is a Professor of Education and Social Policy at the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy in Evanston, Illinois.  Thomas W. McDade, Ph.D., is a Professor of Anthropology at Northwestern University’s Institute for Policy Research in Evanston, Illinois.

Scholarly source:  Sweet E, Nandi A, Adam EK, and McDade TW. The high price of debt: household financial debt and its impact on mental and physical health. Social Science & Medicine 2013;91:94-100. Article available online.