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Financial stress and mental health among higher education students in the UK up to 2018: rapid review of evidence

Published on Oct 1, 2019in Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health3.872
· DOI :10.1136/jech-2019-212154
Tayla McCloud2
Estimated H-index: 2
(UCL: University College London),
David Bann13
Estimated H-index: 13
(IOE: Institute of Education)
Sources
Abstract
Introduction In the United Kingdom and many other countries, debt accrued during higher education has increased substantially in recent decades. The prevalence of common mental health problems has also increased alongside these changes. However, it is as yet unclear whether there is an association between financial stress and mental health among higher education students. Methods We conducted a rapid review of the peer-reviewed scientific literature. Eligible studies were English-language publications testing the association between any indicator of financial stress and mental health among higher education students in the UK. Papers were located through a systematic search of PsychINFO, PubMed and Embase up to November 2018. Results The search strategy yielded 1272 studies—9 met the inclusion criteria. A further two were identified through hand-searching. The median sample size was 408. Only three of seven studies found an association between higher debt and worse mental health. There was a consistent cross-sectional relationship between worse mental health and both experience of financial difficulties (seven of seven studies) and debt worry/financial concern (four of five studies), though longitudinal evidence was mixed and limited to six studies. Conclusion Among higher education students in the UK, there is little evidence that the amount of debt is associated with mental health. However, more subjective measures of increased financial stress were more consistently associated with worse mental health outcomes. Nevertheless, the identified evidence was judged to be weak; further research is required to examine whether links between financial stress and mental health outcomes are robust and causal in nature.
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Abstract Objective To compare rapid reviews (RRs) to same-topic systematic reviews (SRs) for methods, studies included, and conclusions. Study Design and Setting A retrospective comparison of studies comparing RRs and SRs by searching four scoping reviews published between 2007 and 2016. Reports were included if literature searches were conducted within 24 months of each other and had common research questions. Reviews were compared for duration, studies included, population, intervention, compa...
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Previous research has shown a relationship between financial difficulties and poor mental health in students, but most research is cross-sectional. To examine longitudinal relationships over time between financial variables and mental health in students. A national sample of 454 first year British undergraduate students completed measures of mental health and financial variables at up to four time points across a year. Cross-sectional relationships were found between poorer mental health and fem...
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