Debt boosts self-esteem in young adults

Washington: A new study has found that many young adults get a self-esteem boost from their credit card and education debts, instead of feeling stressed by it.

Researchers found that the more credit card and college loan debt held by young adults aged 18 to 27, the higher their self-esteem and the more they felt like they were in control of their lives.

The effect was strongest among those in the lowest economic class.
It also found that it was only those in the age group of 28 to 34 who began showing signs of stress about the money they owed.

“Debt can be a good thing for young people – it can help them achieve goals that they couldn’t otherwise, like a college education,” Rachel Dwyer, lead author of the study and assistant professor of sociology at Ohio State University.

But the results offer some worrying signs about how many young people view debt, she added.

“Debt can be a positive resource for young adults, but it comes with some significant dangers,” Dwyer said.

“Young people seem to view debt mostly in just positive terms rather than as a potential burden,” she stated.

Dwyer conducted the study with Randy Hodson, professor of sociology at Ohio State, and Laura McCloud, an Ohio State graduate now at Pacific Lutheran University.

The findings appeared in a recent issue of the journal Social Science Research.


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