Financial stress leads to a higher chance of illness

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In an article in The Times, a new study from London researchers suggests that Financial strain lowers biological health.

A team from UCL found that interactions between the body’s immune, nervous and endocrine systems were worse in people experiencing sudden and ongoing stressful experiences. This was often exacerbated by debt.

Stress has been linked to illnesses ranging from heart disease to depression and schizophrenia. The study, published in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity, looked at blood samples taken from nearly 5,000 over-50s taking part in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. They analysed proteins and hormones that were biomarkers of stress response.

People suffering from financial strain were nearly 60% more likely to be in the high-risk stress group four years on. Chronic stress disrupts our body’s biological exchanges and leads to disease.

The lead author found that financial stress was the most detrimental to biological health. This is because financial stress can invade many aspects of our lives, leading to family conflict, social exclusion, and even homelessness.


The first step in dealing with stress is to understand what is causing it. You may be feeling stressed because of a specific situation at work or something in your home or personal life, eg a divorce or bereavement. It may even be a combination of home, work and financial pressures. Understanding the sources of stress makes it easier to explore potential solutions and support. If being in debt is driving your stress, then contact the team at The Debt Advisor.