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Lifelong Financial Strain Linked to Disability


A study recently published in the July 2010 journal Social Science & Medicine, has found a correlation between lifelong financial strain and later health issues in adulthood.

In a cohort study of African-American twins, researchers found that those who had experienced financial strain in childhood as well as adulthood had an additional worry: cognitive difficulties. Those that experienced financial strain only as adults had experienced physical and mental health problems such as those faced by individuals with childhood financial strain but did not have the same rates of cognitive difficulties. The researchers feel that this means lifelong financial strain has a greater impact than previously imagined. Future studies will focus on whether or not these cognitive difficulties are a result specifically from the cumulative economic poverty, environmental factors, or a combination of those or other factors.

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Some have noted that the effect of perceived financial strain can be perceived the older a person is or the longer a person has been disabled. This would compound the problem being faced by many Americans today with the economy. As more people lose jobs and are unable to return to work, financial stress increases financial strain. Financial stress is the factors that create worry. The worry is financial strain. For example, losing unemployment benefits while being unable to find a full-time or part-time job would be a financial stress factor. Worrying about how you’re going to pay the rent because of the financial stress, is the financial strain.

Together, financial stress and strain can lead to health problems such as chronic illnesses such as depression and widespread pain. The chronic illnesses (such as paying for health care, medication, doctor appointments) can then further create more financial strain creating a vicious cycle.

By studying the factors that create the problems, researchers may develop a means to stop that cycle. The world will probably always have poverty in some part of the world but if researchers can find a way to treat or cure the resulting chronic illnesses, mental health issues or cognitive difficulties, they can potentially better the lives of millions by preventing a compounding effect.