Study Links Student Debt with Alcohol and Depression
There are currently over 40 million Americans that hold debt for student loans. That is over twelve percent of Americans. It’s on the minds of not just those 40 million but their relatives too who are invested in their future. Student loan debt has become a hot topic as of late especially in regards to the election. Something not so hot, however, came from a study out of the University of Southampton and Solent NHS Trust. The study by United Kingdom news outlet, the Independent. The study stated “Students who experience financial difficulties and worry about debt have a higher chance of suffering from depression and alcohol dependency.”
Instead of seeing a downward trend in student loan debt as it gets paid off, we actually are seeing the debt rise at an alarming pace. The Federal Reserve has estimated that the current national student loan debt amount rises by $2,726.03 per second. To put this into perspective, one of the richest men in America, Bill Gates, makes just $114.16 per second. The Federal Reserve calculated the shocking loan debt number by using the data from Q1 2006 to Q4 2015.
University of Southampton and Solent NHS Trust asked 400 first year undergraduate students across the United Kingdom to reflect and assess their financial status. This includes recent difficulties, family affluence and their attitude toward their finances. The research found that those who struggled with paying their bills showed heightened signs of anxiety and alcoholism. More poignant, the students who worried specifically about graduate debt saw even higher levels of stress and depression.
Financial concerns and drinking problems work in tandem to wreak havoc on those affected. “The findings suggest a vicious cycle whereby anxiety and problem drinking exacerbate financial difficulties, which then go on to increase anxiety and alcohol intake,” wrote Dr. Thomas Richardson, who led the study that was published online in the Community Mental Health Journal, via AOL. “Interventions which tackle both difficulties at the same time are therefore most likely to be effective.”
Perhaps the best fix is something that Richardson suggested. “We might not be able to change how much debt students are in, but we can work with them to help them manage their finances and worries about money in order to mitigate the impact of these worries on mental health.”
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