Dataset Information


The Other Student Debt Crisis: How Borrowing to Pay for a Child's College Education Relates to Parents' Mental Health at Midlife.



More parents are borrowing to help their children pay for college. These loans may be a source of financial stress and worry, which could influence parents' mental health. We determine whether child-related educational debt is associated with worse mental health among parents and if fathers are more sensitive to this debt than mothers, given potential gender differences in financial decision-making and relationships with adult children.


Data come from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, a nationally representative sample of persons born between 1957 and 1964. We used the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale and the Short Form-12 Mental Health Component Score to assess mental health. We restricted our sample to parents who had at least one biological child attend college and who were interviewed at age 50, when mental health was assessed (n = 3,545).


Among fathers, having any child-related educational debt versus none was associated with fewer depressive symptoms, but having greater amounts of child-related educational debt was associated with more depressive symptoms and worse mental health. No relationship was found for mothers.


Our findings indicate that the student debt crisis may also have mental health implications for aging parents, particularly for fathers.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7424281 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

Similar Datasets

| S-EPMC5926980 | BioStudies
| S-EPMC8427164 | BioStudies
| S-EPMC6314372 | BioStudies
| S-EPMC7748276 | BioStudies
| S-EPMC8379590 | BioStudies
| S-EPMC6119759 | BioStudies
| S-EPMC3211966 | BioStudies
| S-EPMC8605451 | BioStudies
| S-EPMC8689391 | BioStudies
| S-EPMC7530494 | BioStudies