Feeling stress about finances leads some Black adults to rate their health more poorly, finds a new study in the American Journal of Health Behavior. While lower income and education among minorities have been linked to poor health for decades, this study focused just on the connection between financial worries and poor health.
“Because the study was cross-sectional, we cannot say that one caused the other, but we know that financial strain is associated with poorer self-rated health among black adults,” said the study’s lead author Lorraine R. Reitzel, Ph.D., associate professor of health in the department of educational psychology at the University of Houston.
Reitzel and her colleague Elaine Savoy, a Ph.D. candidate in the department of psychology at the University of Houston, studied the relationship between financial strain and self-rated health among 1,341 Black adults from a large Methodist church in Houston. Study participants were mostly women who made at least $40,000 a year. Participants were asked to rate their health from poor to excellent and complete the Financial Strain Questionnaire which captures how an unfavorable income may impact lifestyle like suitable food, housing and clothing.
People reporting greater financial strain tended to report poorer self-rated health.
Reitzel added, “Furthermore, the relationship between financial strain and poorer health may be influenced by both stress and depressive symptoms, such that financial strain may be linked to greater stress and more depressive symptoms.”
Fenaba R. Addo, Ph.D., Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholar at University of Wisconsin, Madison, said research has found that the perceived vulnerability of middle class Blacks is stressful largely due to their source of wealth being predominantly income and not asset based.
Click here to read more.