Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Papers,
Lund University, Department of Economics

No 2016:19: Day-to-Day Living Expenses and Mental Health

Margareta Dackehag (), Lina Maria Ellegård (), Ulf-G. Gerdtham () and Therese Nilsson ()
Additional contact information
Margareta Dackehag: Department of Economics, Lund University, Postal: Department of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Lund University, Box 7082, S-220 07 Lund, Sweden
Lina Maria Ellegård: Department of Economics, Lund University, Postal: Department of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Lund University, Box 7082, S-220 07 Lund, Sweden
Ulf-G. Gerdtham: Department of Economics, Lund University, Postal: Department of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Lund University, Box 7082, S-220 07 Lund, Sweden
Therese Nilsson: Department of Economics, Lund University, Postal: Department of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Lund University, Box 7082, S-220 07 Lund, Sweden

Abstract: We use rich longitudinal survey and register data on Swedish individuals to examine the relationship between financial strain and mental health. Specifically, we consider the longitudinal relationships between payment difficulties and subjective (self-reported anxiety) as well as objective (psychiatric drug use) measures of mental ill-health. Among previously healthy individuals, payment difficulty experiences are strongly associated with self-reported mental ill-health. The association with later psychiatric drug use is weaker and differs by gender. Psychiatric drug users are on the other hand at high risk of later experiencing payment difficulties. This indicates that policy measures regarding the payment difficulties–health nexus ought to prioritize activities improving mental health.

Keywords: financial strain; mental health; stress

JEL-codes: I12; I30; I31

36 pages, August 19, 2016

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