A recent study led by former RWJF scholar Elizabeth Sweet found that high student debt leads to a greater incidence of high blood pressure and depression in people ages 24-32. The study was featured in both Time and Forbes. With regard to cultural messages regarding an individual’s responsibility for debt, Sweet pointed out that debt, while often impossible to avoid, is stigmatized by our society. “[Debt] is going to be a way of life,” she said—which means that prevention and treatment of the associated adverse health effects is all the more important.
Arijit Nandi and Elizabeth Sweet, former RWJF Health & Society Scholars, find debt to be an important socioeconomic determinant of health in their recent study, “The high price of debt: Household financial debt and its impact on mental and physical health” published in the journal Social Science and Medicine.