Debt-ridden over-50s more likely to suffer mental health problems

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New research has shown that people who are struggling to manage their finances in old age are eight times more likely to have reduced levels of mental wellbeing than their wealthy peers.

The latest findings are published today by the Personal Finance Research Centre at the University of Bristol and the International Longevity Centre UK. It confirms that those who are finding it ‘very difficult to get by financially’ have almost eight times the odds of reporting reduced mental wellbeing compared to those who are living comfortably.

It also found that more than 22 per cent of those aged 50 to 54 show worryingly low levels of mental wellbeing, while this age group also has the lowest percentage of people living comfortably (26 per cent).

Read about the research in the Independent.

In contrast, 40 per cent of those aged 80 and above are living comfortably, only one per cent feel that they are finding things very difficult financially and 85 per cent show positive mental wellbeing.

The age group displaying the highest levels of positive mental wellbeing are those aged 70 to 74, which researchers attribute to the ‘baby boomer’ effect or people enjoying the early stages of retirement and good health.

The author of the research, David Hayes, Research Associate at the PFRC, said:

“This research supports the findings of other researchers that debt may be both a cause and consequence of mental health. However, the magnitude of the relationship that we uncover here is quite staggering.”

He added:

“The research proves beyond all doubt how poor mental wellbeing and poor financial management are inextricably related, and has implications for policy in the fields of health and debt. Future work is now needed to unravel the nature of this complex relationship, to provide further material for policy makers in these areas.”

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this news has been re-posted from the Understanding Society website