American Young Adults’ Debt and Psychological Distress

Qun Zhang, Hyungsoo Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


This study explored the impact of student loan and credit card debt on young people’s psychological distress. Targeting American young adults ages 18–28, we examined the impacts of student loan and credit card debt on psychological distress and estimated their relative magnitude using five biannual waves from the Transition into Adulthood Study. Fixed-effects models investigated whether changes in debts led to changes in psychological distress. Increases of $1000 in student loan and credit card debt resulted in 6% and 4% higher odds of distress, respectively. Comparison showed credit card debt inflicted twice as much stress. Implications on young adults’ debt reduction and distress alleviation are addressed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-35
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Family and Economic Issues
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 15 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • American young adults
  • Credit card debt
  • Psychological distress
  • Student loans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Economics and Econometrics


Dive into the research topics of 'American Young Adults’ Debt and Psychological Distress'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this