The cost of higher education has, according to Bloomberg Business, increased 13-fold since 1978, greatly outpacing the rate of inflation. Employers increasingly require workers to have college degrees, with Georgetown University predicting that by 2020, 60% of jobs will require some college education.
This career training is increasingly posing massive burdens on newly minted college graduates, with the Project on Student Debt reporting that the average 2013 graduate had $28,400 in debt. According to the first nationally representative study on the effects of student debt, this crushing burden exacts a hefty toll on young adults’ mental health.
How Does Student Debt Affect Mental Health?
To evaluate how student debt might affect emotional well-being, researchers pulled data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997. Pulling data from recent graduates ranging in age from 25 to 31, researchers adjusted for factors that might affect mental health, such as parental income and childhood socioeconomic status. They found that even with these adjustments, students with higher debt loads had more mental health issues. Depression was common among those with more debt, suggesting that a mountain of debt may lead to feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and sadness in some recent graduates.
The Far-Reaching Effects of Student Debt
Student debt is one of the few obligations that can’t be discharged in bankruptcy, which means that people saddled with debt will carry that debt until they’re able to pay it off. The study was correlational, which means it did not establish that student debt causes depression or other mental health conditions. However, its authors highlight the myriad sociocultural effects of student debt, arguing that these issues can spur mental health concerns. For example, high student debt may affect career options, cause recent graduates to delay or forgo marriage and childrearing, or limit health care choices.
- How are student loans affecting the well-being of young adults? (2015, January 22). Retrieved from http://www.newswise.com/articles/how-are-student-loans-affecting-the-well-being-of-young-adults
- Jamrisko, M., and Kolet, I. (2014, August 18). College tuition costs soar: Chart of the day. Retrieved from http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-08-18/college-tuition-costs-soar-chart-of-the-day
- State by state data. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://projectonstudentdebt.org/state_by_state-data.php
© Copyright 2015 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved.
The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.