The general and mental health of college students who took out student loans to pay for education was judged as being lower than that of students who did not. Additionally, they were more likely to report delaying dental, medical, and mental health care as well as taking less medicine than recommended to save money. They also reported more serious medical issues.
Students were Studied for the Relationship of Their Loans with Their Mental Heath
In a paper that was printed in the Journal of American College Health, that discussed these findings. The conclusions are based on surveys that more than 3,200 college students from two American public colleges completed in 2017.
On a scale of excellent, good, fair, and bad, we asked students to rank their physical and mental health. Additionally, we inquired about if they had postponed medical, dental, or mental health care in the prior year to make ends meet since beginning their college careers. We questioned those who said they often took medicine for physical health issues like high blood pressure or asthma if they had ever taken less medication than recommended to save money. Even after taking into consideration the disparities between them in terms of ethnicity, age, and gender as well as the educational and marital status of their parents, students with loans still reported worse results than those without loans.
In a published article by The Conversation, college students with loans were just as likely as students without loans to have received a new mental health diagnosis or treatment for a mental disorder in college, despite having worse self-reported mental health. They also had an equal likelihood of using mental health drugs or visiting a mental health professional in the previous year. However, they reported postponing mental health care almost twice as frequently as people without debt.
What’s at stake?
Our research suggests that student debt may have unintended consequences, including worsening physical and mental health, an increase in medical issues, and a decrease in the utilization of medical and mental health services. While a student is still in college, stress from student loans can hurt their mental and physical health.
College students are frequently at a critical juncture when they are first leaving their parents’ house and forming habits that could last beyond college, like those linked to medical and dental care. For college graduates with loans, putting off medical treatment might lead to worse medical issues, which could compromise their health and shorten their lives.
Improved health is one benefit of earning a college degree. But if students borrow money to pay for education, they could not experience those advantages, particularly if they put off getting medical treatment or use less medication to cut costs. The availability of free or inexpensive public higher education has decreased for previous generations as state budgets have not been able to keep up with the rising prices and demand for higher education. Most people must take on debt to complete their higher education under the existing system of funding, and according to the most recent national data, 62% of 2019 graduates of public or private nonprofit, four-year colleges had student debt.
We are working on a book that examines the effects of debt on post-college life, including what it does to one’s health, housing situation, love relationships, and employment prospects. We have discovered so far that health disparities and wait times for healthcare visits continue after graduation. Additionally, we discovered that college grads who postponed clinic appointments to save money while in school had a slightly higher than double risk of recently developing a significant medical issue between 15 months and 3.5 years after graduation. Additionally, we discovered that individuals were more than four times as likely to put off getting medical care after graduating to save money, demonstrating that these patterns continue long after they leave college.