Financial stress, Financial stressors, Financial strain, Mental health, Depression


This study investigated how stress responses to financial strain are related to mental health (i.e., depression) to answer the question: Does how we feel about financial strain matter? Informed by the ABC-X model of family stress and analyzed with data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), results reveal that financial strain is significantly related to increased depression; however, financial stress was found to moderate this relationship. Financially strained respondents without a stress response did not have significantly different depression scores than those who were not experiencing financial strain; however, depression scores increased as the stress response to financial strain increased. Consistent with the ABC-X model, results suggest that financial strain is a neutral event until it is processed and interpreted by an individual, with subjective perceptions a more powerful predictor of mental health than objective financial circumstances. These results emphasize an area of synergy for financial and mental health researchers and professionals.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License