Financial stress and mental wellbeing in an age of austerity

Wednesday 29 January 2014
Angela Curl, Ade Kearns

This report looks at the experience of financial stress over time and its relationship to mental health and wellbeing among residents of deprived areas in Glasgow, Scotland. 

The evidence presented comes from the GoWell programme, a long-term study of the progress of regeneration across deprived communities in Glasgow and its effects upon health and wellbeing.  In general, affordability problems eased for households over the period of study, particularly housing costs, but that fuel costs became more problematic.

However, within this general pattern, some of the groups identified as being at risk from the effects of the economic downturn and austerity measures, faced particularly high affordability problems, or a worsening of affordability difficulties. Where there were increased affordability difficulties, this was associated with a worsening of mental health for the householder.

There were also indications that the threshold of multiple affordability difficulties at which point mental health declines dropped, and that over a longer time period, the drop in mental health associated with worsening affordability difficulties was greater.