Indebtedness and Mental Health - Focusing on Depressive Symptoms and Suicidal Ideation -

가계부채가 정신건강에 미치는 영향 - 우울감과 자살생각을 중심으로 -

  • Received : 2016.12.24
  • Accepted : 2017.03.03
  • Published : 2017.05.31


This study examined the impact of indebtedness on depressive symptoms and suicidal ideation. The data came from the 4th to 10th waves of the Korea Welfare Panel Study, collected from 2009 to 2015. Analyses were conducted using logistic regression for longitudinal data that combines the fixed effects and random effects approaches. The results show that a high level of indebtedness substantially increased the risk of depressive symptoms. The household leverage ratio-the ratio of total household debt to disposable personal income-of 400% or higher increased the odds of probable depression by 50% compared with the ratio under 100%. When the percentage of personal income that goes toward paying debt is 30% or higher, the odds of probable depression went up by 66% than when the percentage of debt payment of disposal income is under 10%. The findings suggest that debt relief agencies and their programs need to incorporate means to identify and address emotional stress related to the excessive debt. This study also contributed to enriching the literature on social determinants of health by demonstrating that indebtedness is an important socioeconomic characteristic affecting individuals' mental health.


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