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Debt and Mental Health Effects on Children

Jennifer Croft

Jennifer Croft

Debt can have a significant impact on the lives of parents, but it can also affect the mental health of children. When parents struggle with debt, it can lead to stress, anxiety, and financial instability. All of these can negatively impact their children’s mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Here’s what the latest research says about the effects of parental debt on children.

The impact of debt on children’s mental health

A 2018 study published in the Journal of Family and Economic Issues found that children whose parents had high levels of debt were more likely to experience psychological distress and symptoms of anxiety and depression. The study also found that children of parents with high levels of debt were more likely to experience physical health problems, such as headaches and stomach problems.

Another study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family in 2019 found that children of parents who had difficulty paying their bills were more likely to experience behavior problems and poor academic performance. The study also found that parental debt was linked to lower levels of parental involvement in children’s education and increased conflict between parents, which could further impact children’s well-being.

These studies suggest that parental debt can have a significant impact on children’s mental, physical, and emotional well-being, and may be linked to a range of negative outcomes. Children may be particularly vulnerable to the stress and uncertainty associated with financial instability, which can affect their behavior, academic performance, and overall quality of life.

How to improve your child’s mental health

If you’re a parent struggling with debt, it’s essential to seek help and support to manage your debt and reduce stress. Financial counseling, debt management programs, and other resources can help you regain control of your finances and reduce the negative impact on your family.

When parents struggle with debt, children suffer too. Recent studies and research suggest that parental debt can have a significant impact on children’s well-being. This can include things like increased risk of psychological distress, physical health problems, behavior problems, and poor academic performance. If you’re a parent struggling with debt, seek help and support to minimize the impact on your family.

Additional Resources:

Suicide Prevention Hotline – 1.833.456.4566.

Calgary Counselling Centre – Open to all Albertans

Canadian Mental Health Association

Read more about mental health and debt on our site:

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