Household Debt and Adult Depressive Symptoms in the United States
- 1k Downloads
This study used data from Waves 1 (1987–1989) and 2 (1992–1994) of the National Survey of Families and Households in the United States and a series of regression models, some of which included individual-specific fixed effects, to estimate associations of particular types and levels of debt with adult depressive symptoms. Results suggest that household debt is positively associated with greater depressive symptoms. However, this association appears to be driven by short-term (unsecured) debt; we found little evidence of associations with depressive symptoms for mid- or long-term debt. The link between short-term debt and depressive symptoms persisted with alternative estimation strategies, including defining debt in absolute and relative terms. Furthermore, this association was particularly concentrated among 51–64 year-old adults, those with a high school education or less, and those who were not stably married throughout the observation period. These findings suggest that short-term debt may have an adverse influence on psychological wellbeing, particularly for those who are less educated, approaching retirement age, or unmarried.
KeywordsDebt Depressive symptoms National Survey of Families and Households
- Azicorbe, A. M., Kennickell, A. B., & Moore, K. B. (2003). Recent changes in US family finances: Evidence from the 1998 and 2001 Survey of Consumer Finances. Federal Reserve Bulletin (January), A1–A32. Retrieved from http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/bulletin/2003/0103lead.pdf.
- Brown, M., Haughwout, A., Lee, D., & van der Klaauw, W. (2011). Do we know what we owe? A comparison of borrower- and lender-reporter consumer debt. Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Staff Report no. 523. Retrieved from http://www.newyorkfed.org/research/staff_reports/sr523.pdf.
- Chomsisengphet, S., & Pennington-Cross, A. (2006). The evolution of the subprime mortgage market. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Review, 88(1), 31. Retrieved from https://research.stlouisfed.org/publications/review/06/01/ChomPennCross.pdf.
- Conger, R. D., & Elder, G. H, Jr. (1994). Families in troubled times: Adapting to change in rural America. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.Google Scholar
- Conger, R. D., Elder, G. H., Jr., Lorenz, F., Conger, K., Simons, R., Whitbeck, L., Huck, S., & Melby, J. (1990). Linking economic hardship to marital quality and distress. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 52, 643–656. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/352931.
- Drentea, P. (2000). Age, debt, and anxiety. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 41, 437–450. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/2676296.
- Durkin, T. A. (2000). Credit cards: Use and consumer attitudes, 1970–2000. Federal Reserve Bulletin, 86, 623–634. Retrieved from http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/bulletin/2000/0900lead.pdf.
- Dynan, K. E., & Kohn, D. (2007). The rise in US household indebtedness: Causes and consequences. Federal Reserve Board Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2007–37. Retrieved from http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/2007/200737/200737pap.pdf.
- Federal Reserve Bank of New York. (2012). Student Loan Debt History. Retrieved from http://www.newyorkfed.org/studentloandebt/.
- Hyman, L. (2011). Politics and society in twentieth century America. In W. Chave, G. Gerstle, L. Gordon, & J. Zelizer (Eds.), Debtor nation: The history of America in red ink. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Jagtiani, J., & Li, W. (2013). Credit access and credit performance after consumer bankruptcy filing: New evidence. Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Working Paper Series, 13–24. Retrieved from http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2269621.
- Kennickell, A. B., & Shack-Marquez, J. (1992). Changes in family finances from 1983 to 1989: Evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances. Federal Reserve Bulletin, 78, 1–18. Retrieved from http://www.federalreserve.gov/econresdata/scf/files/bull0192.pdf.
- Lenton, P., & Mosley, P. (2008). Debt and health. Sheffield Economic Research Paper Series. University of Sheffield. Retrieved from http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/polopoly_fs/1.105541!/file/SERP2008004.pdf.
- Lusardi, A., & Tufano, P. (2009). Debt literacy, financial experiences, and over indebtedness (Working Paper No. w14808). National Bureau of Economic Research. Retrieved from http://www.nber.org/papers/w14808.
- McKernan, S. M., & Ratcliffe, C. (2009). Asset Building for Today’s Stability and Tomorrow’s Security. Washington: Urban Institute. Retrieved from http://www.urban.org/uploadedpdf/1001374_asset_building.pdf.
- Modigliani, F. (1986). Life cycle, individual thrift, and the wealth of nations. American Economic Review, 76(3), 297–313. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/1813352.
- Modigliani, F., & Brumberg, R. (1954). Utility analysis and the consumption function: An interpretation of cross-section data. In K. K. Kurihara (Ed.), Post Keynesian economics (pp. 388–436). New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
- Pearlin, L. I. (1989). The sociological study of stress. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 30, 241–256. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/2136956.
- StataCorp. (2013). Stata Statistical Software: Release 13. College Station: StataCorp LP.Google Scholar
- Sullivan, T. A., Warren, E., & Westbrook, J. L. (2000). The fragile middle class: Americans in debt. CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
- Sweet, J., Bumpass, L., & Call, V. (1988). The design and content of the National Survey of Households and Families. NSFH Working Paper No. 1. Center for Demography and Ecology, University of Wisconsin–Madison. Retrieved from http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/cde/nsfhwp/nsfh1.pdf.
- Sweet J. A., & Bumpass, L. L. (1996). The National Survey of Families and Households—waves 1 and 2: Data description and documentation. Center for Demography and Ecology, University of Wisconsin–Madison. Retrieved from http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/nsfh/home.htm.
- US Senate. (2011). Consumer protection and middle-class wealth building in an age of growing household debt. Hearing before the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection of the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, United States Senate. 112th Congress, 1st session. October 4, 2011. Washington: US G.P.O. Retrieved from http://www.banking.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Hearings.Hearing&Hearing_ID=efab1264-2fe0-4518-aa83-1c42117d40b6.
- Xiao, J. J., & Yao, R. (2011a). Debt holding and burden by family structure in 1989–2007. Networks Financial Institute at Indiana State University. Working Paper 2011-WP-04. Retrieved from http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1799362.
- Xiao, J. J., & Yao, R. (2011b). Consumer debt delinquency over life cycle stages. Networks Financial Institute at Indiana State University. Working Paper 2011-WP-18. Retrieved from http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1903726.
- Yilmazer, T., & DeVaney, S. A. (2005). Household debt over the life cycle. Financial Services Review, 14(4), 285–304. Retrieved from http://web.b.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.library.wisc.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=2&sid=f3b067dd-10c4-4b61-9e63-f62a4797933b%40sessionmgr110&hid=110.