The impact of savings and credit on health and health behaviours: an outcome-wide longitudinal approach
This study evaluated decisions related to debt and savings on physical health, emotional health and health behaviours.
The longitudinal data from the Polish biennial household panel—Social Diagnosis Survey—were used. Evidence for a link between credit/savings and health/health behaviours was presented using three waves of the data and an outcome-wide regression analysis. To circumvent endogeneity, variables temporally prior to exposure were used as controls. Sensitivity analysis for unmeasured confounding, conducted using E-values, provided a check for robustness.
Debt proved a significant stressor, affecting three of five physical health measures. Over-indebted individuals suffered even more in terms of physical health outcomes. The role of savings in physical health was much less significant, yet had significant bearing on measures of emotional health. In terms of emotional health, debt (over-indebtedness in particular) influenced loneliness and increased suicidal thoughts. With respect to health behaviours, savings appeared significant in reducing smoking and increasing uptake of sport activities, while debt had no significant effect in these areas.
Recommendations are formulated to foster saving activity and develop institutional solutions for over-indebtedness.
KeywordsCredit Savings Health behaviour Health Longitudinal study Outcome-wide regression
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
The authors declare that the data used in the study are fully anonymized and originate from freely available source (www.diagnoza.com).
All respondents gave the informed consent before the participation. Data were collected through self-reported questionnaires. This manuscript reflects original work.
- Białowolski P (2014) Patterns of debt possession among households in Poland—a multi-group latent class approach. Bank Credit 45:79–104Google Scholar
- Blázquez M, Budría S (2015) The effects of over-indebtedness on individual health. Discussion paper series—IZAGoogle Scholar
- Curley J, Ssewamala F, Sherraden M (2009) Institutions and savings in low-income households. J Sociol Soc Welf 36:9–32Google Scholar
- Czapiński J, Panek T (2015) Social diagnosis. www.diagnoza.com. Accessed 17 Oct 2017
- D’Alessio G, Iezzi S (2013) Household over-indebtedness: definition and measurement with Italian data. IFC Bull Chapters 36:496–517Google Scholar
- Emami S (2010) Consumer over-indebtedness and health care costs: how to approach the question from a global perspective. In: Background Paper 3, World Health Report, 2010. https://www.who.int/healthsystems/topics/financing/healthreport/3BackgroundPaperMedBankruptcy.pdf
- European Commission (2008) Towards a common operational European definition of over-indebtedness. http://www.oee.fr/files/study_overindebtedness_en.pdf
- European Commission (2016) Financial products and services—special eurobarometer 446. https://doi.org/10.2874/863808
- Georgarakos D, Lojschova A, Ward-Warmedinger M (2010) Mortgage, indebtedness and household financial distressGoogle Scholar
- Sherraden M (1991) Assets and the poor. M.E. Sharpe Inc., ArmonkGoogle Scholar