Over-indebtedness and consequences for well-being

  • Carla Prentice

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Financial stress is often caused by unexpected circumstances beyond our control for example shocks or changes in the wider political, economic and social environments or at the household level. Households, even those that are income rich or liquidity unconstrained, can be disrupted by unexpected financial shocks subsequently leaving them experiencing financial strain. Financial stress can lead to poor psychological states such as depression or anxiety, which in turn are thought to influence health, either directly via physiological processes that influence disease pathogenesis or through behavioural patterns which can then contribute to disease or mortality. This research offers a greater breadth of understanding than the extant literature. Not only do I consider the direct impact of financial stress on health, but go beyond the black box view of causality and consider potential mediating variables in order to explain how this connection might occur. This research also offers insight into the effect of wealth shocks on health and health behaviours, subject matter now thrown into sharp relief by the emerging consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Date of AwardDec 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SponsorsNorthern Ireland Department for the Economy & Centre of Excellence for Public Health, Northern Ireland
SupervisorDonal McKillop (Supervisor) & Declan French (Supervisor)


  • Financial stress
  • time discounting
  • present bias
  • unhealthy behaviours
  • longitudinal data
  • financial strain
  • health
  • mediation
  • moderated mediation
  • health behaviours
  • allostatic load
  • wealth shocks

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