The high price of debt: Household financial debt and its impact on mental and physical health.
ABSTRACT Household financial debt in America has risen dramatically in recent years. While there is evidence that debt is associated with adverse psychological health, its relationship with other health outcomes is relatively unknown. We investigate the associations of multiple indices of financial debt with psychological and general health outcomes among 8400 young adult respondents from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). Our findings show that reporting high financial debt relative to available assets is associated with higher perceived stress and depression, worse self-reported general health, and higher diastolic blood pressure. These associations remain significant when controlling for prior socioeconomic status, psychological and physical health, and other demographic factors. The results suggest that debt is an important socioeconomic determinant of health that should be explored further in social epidemiology research.
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ABSTRACT: To estimate the impact of small reductions in the population distribution of diastolic blood pressure (DBP), such as those potentially achievable by population-wide lifestyle modification, on incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke. Published data from the Framingham Heart Study, a longitudinal cohort study, and from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey II, a national population survey, were used to examine the impact of a population-wide strategy aimed at reducing DBP by an average of 2 mm Hg in a population including normotensive subjects. White men and women aged 35 to 64 years in the United States. Incidence of CHD and stroke, including transient ischemic attacks (TIAs). Data from overviews of observational studies and randomized trials suggest that a 2-mm Hg reduction in DBP would result in a 17% decrease in the prevalence of hypertension as well as a 6% reduction in the risk of CHD and a 15% reduction in risk of stroke and TIAs. From an application of these results to US white men and women aged 35 to 64 years, it is estimated that a successful population intervention alone could reduce CHD incidence more than could medical treatment for all those with a DBP of 95 mm Hg or higher. It could prevent 84% of the number prevented by medical treatment for all those with a DBP of 90 mm Hg or higher. For stroke (including TIAs), a population-wide 2-mm Hg reduction could prevent 93% of events prevented by medical treatment for those with a DBP of 95 mm Hg or higher and 69% of events for treatment for those with a DBP of 90 mm Hg or higher. A combination strategy of both a population reduction in DBP and targeted medical intervention is most effective and could double or triple the impact of medical treatment alone. Adding a population-based intervention to existing levels of hypertension treatment could prevent an estimated additional 67,000 CHD events (6%) and 34,000 stroke and TIA events (13%) annually among all those aged 35 to 64 years in the United States. A small reduction of 2 mm Hg in DBP in the mean of the population distribution, in addition to medical treatment, could have a great public health impact on the number of CHD and stroke events prevented. Whether such DBP reductions can be achieved in the population through lifestyle interventions, in particular through sodium reduction, depends on the results of ongoing primary prevention trials as well as the cooperation of the food industry, government agencies, and health education professionals.Archives of Internal Medicine 05/1995; 155(7):701-9. · 11.46 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Socioeconomic status (SES) is consistently associated with health outcomes, yet little is known about the psychosocial and behavioral mechanisms that might explain this association. Researchers usually control for SES rather than examine it. When it is studied, only effects of lower, poverty-level SES are generally examined. However, there is evidence of a graded association with health at all levels of SES, an observation that requires new thought about domains through which SES may exert its health effects. Variables are highlighted that show a graded relationship with both SES and health to provide examples of possible pathways between SES and health end points. Examples are also given of new analytic approaches that can better illuminate the complexities of the SES-health gradient.American Psychologist 02/1994; 49(1):15-24. · 6.87 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Adaptation in the face of potentially stressful challenges involves activation of neural, neuroendocrine and neuroendocrine-immune mechanisms. This has been called "allostasis" or "stability through change" by Sterling and Eyer (Fisher S., Reason J. (eds): Handbook of Life Stress, Cognition and Health. J. Wiley Ltd. 1988, p. 631), and allostasis is an essential component of maintaining homeostasis. When these adaptive systems are turned on and turned off again efficiently and not too frequently, the body is able to cope effectively with challenges that it might not otherwise survive. However, there are a number of circumstances in which allostatic systems may either be overstimulated or not perform normally, and this condition has been termed "allostatic load" or the price of adaptation (McEwen and Stellar, Arch. Int. Med. 1993; 153: 2093.). Allostatic load can lead to disease over long periods. Types of allostatic load include (1) frequent activation of allostatic systems; (2) failure to shut off allostatic activity after stress; (3) inadequate response of allostatic systems leading to elevated activity of other, normally counter-regulated allostatic systems after stress. Examples will be given for each type of allostatic load from research pertaining to autonomic, CNS, neuroendocrine, and immune system activity. The relationship of allostatic load to genetic and developmental predispositions to disease is also considered.Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 06/1998; 840:33-44. · 4.38 Impact Factor