Household financial assets and health disparities among adults


Wu, Shiyou; Harris, Kathleen Mullan; & Wu, Qi (2016). Household financial assets and health disparities among adults. 2016 Add Health Users Conference. Bethesda, MD.


This study explores the relationship of asset disparities (e.g., positive net worth vs. living with debt) with health disparities among young adults. Using Wave I and Wave IV Add Health data, this study investigates 3 health indicators: general health, physical health (BMI), and mental health (Depression). Results show that significantly higher rates of better general health are found for adults with moderate and high assets; neutral and positive net worth. A similar trend but with an inverse direction is found in the significantly lower levels of depression among adults with moderate or high levels of assets, and those with neutral or positive net worth (as compared with their reference groups of low asset, negative net worth, respectively.) However, the total assets value is not a significant predictor for physical health, whereas net worth is a significant predictor of physical health. Results suggest household assets are positively associated with health outcomes. However, different measures of household assets yielded different findings for the physical health indicator; this finding demonstrates the importance for future research to explicate the role of debt beyond assets in adults’ health. A better understanding of various forms of financial resources (e.g., income, assets, and debt) and their dynamic relationships will contribute to developing effective asset-based interventions for improving health outcomes and well-being among adults.


Reference Type

Conference proceeding

Book Title

2016 Add Health Users Conference


Wu, Shiyou
Harris, Kathleen Mullan
Wu, Qi

Year Published


City of Publication

Bethesda, MD

Reference ID