Written by : Jim Gold

Credit Card Debt Tied to Depression

Are you in debt?

That looming debt may be hurting more than your credit score.

Next time you're in Macy's checkout line, think about paying cash instead of credit. Your purchase, and the ensuing debt, will be less likely to cause depression, suggests a study to be published in the Journal of Family and Economic Issues.

Credit cards, overdue bills and other short-term debt increase depressive symptoms, says the first study of different types of debt and their effects on various groups of people. The results were reported in Science Daily.

Depressive symptoms were particularly strong among unmarried people, people reaching retirement age and less-educated people, says lead author Lawrence Berger, Ph.D., a University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Social Work professor.

Mid-term and long-term debt were not linked to depressive symptoms—only short-term credit card debt, Berger said.

Berger's team focused on data about 8,500 working-age adults in two waves of the National Survey of Families and Households, conducted six years apart and ending in 1994.


Jim Gold is a veteran journalist who splits his time between Seattle and the Bay Area.

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