School of Business and Economics


15 Nov 2021

Research links financial strain and poor health

Dr Eva Selenko, of Loughborough University's School of Business and Economics, has co-authored a paper that has found that economic vulnerability has psychological and physiological consequences.

In the paper published in the European Journal of Work and Organisational Psychology, they reported an analysis of a 19-year representative German household panel that followed people with different incomes on their psychological and physiological health, their sense of control, and their perceived financial strain.

They found that:

  • Earning under the poverty line and feeling financial strain were independently related to more health problems; this was because people who were financially worse off and financially strained felt they had overall less control in their life. Money doesn’t make happy – but it helps with coping with many daily life hassles.
  • Falling under the poverty line was associated with worse health than already being poor (getting poor is at least initially worse than being poor; we believe this is because it comes with multiple adjustments to life); and
  • The effect of low income and financial deprivation was independent of household income -  so it didn’t matter how much your partner earned. We think this reflects the negative effect of financial dependence: if someone is poor but their partner earns enough, they are financially dependent, and this can create all kinds of problems. 

The full article can be read here