What are the Psychological Factors Associated with Financial Hardship & Mental Health?

Research Paper Title

Psychological factors associated with financial hardship and mental health: A systematic review.

Background

A review of the literature investigating the role of psychological factors in the relationship between financial hardship and mental health was completed.

Methods

The review sought to identify which factors have been most consistently and reliably indicated, and the mechanisms by which these factors are proposed to contribute to the association between hardship and mental health.

Results

Although the review identified that a broad variety of factors have been investigated, skills related to personal agency, self-esteem and coping were most frequently and reliably associated with the relationship between financial hardship and mental health outcomes.

Just over half of the studies reviewed concluded that the psychological factor investigated was either eroded by financial hardship, increasing vulnerability to mental health difficulties, or protected mental health by remaining intact despite the effects of financial hardship.

The remaining studies found no such effect or did not analyse their data in a manner in which a mechanism of action could be identified.

Conclusions

The methodological quality of the research included in the review was variable.

The valid and reliable measurement of financial hardship, and conclusions regarding causation due to the use of predominantly cross-sectional design were areas of particular weakness.

Reference

Frankham, C., Richardson, T. & Maguire, N. (2020) Psychological factors associated with financial hardship and mental health: A systematic review. Clinical Psychology Review. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2020.101832. Epub 2020 Feb 11.

Can We Link Financial Worries & Poor Mental Health?

Research Paper Title

Sociodemographic Characteristics, Financial Worries and Serious Psychological Distress in U.S. Adults.

Background

Economic recessions have been well studied in relationship to poor mental health.

However, subjective financial worries have not been examined relative to serious psychological distress (SPD), a measure of poor mental health.

Methods

Adults 18 to 64 years in the cross-sectional 2016 National Health Interview Survey (nā€‰=ā€‰24,126) were examined for worries about paying for bills, serious medical events, expected medical costs, retirement, children’s college tuition and maintaining a standard of living; by sociodemographic such as sex and race/ethnicity. Over 50% of adults reported two or more financial worries.

Results

In multivariate models, financial worries were associated with SPD.

White adults at the lowest education level had the greatest proportion with SPD compared with all other race/ethnic groups.

Conclusions

Women had greater risk for SPD and for each financial worry compared with men.

Financial worries were prevalent in US adults, were associated with increased risk for SPD, and varied by sex.

Reference

Weissman, J., Russell, D. & Mann, J.J. (2020) Sociodemographic Characteristics, Financial Worries and Serious Psychological Distress in U.S. Adults. Community Mental Health Journal. 56(4), pp.606-613. doi: 10.1007/s10597-019-00519-0. Epub 2020 Jan 1.