Material hardship, perceived stress, and health in early adulthood

Ying Huang, Colleen M. Heflin, Asiya Validova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: We examined the associations between material hardship and health outcomes in early adulthood and the extent to which these associations are mediated by perceived stress. Methods: We used wave I and IV of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a nationally representative survey of young adults aged 18–34 years old (n = 13,313). Multivariate logistic regression and decomposition methods were used to evaluate the associations between types and depth of material hardship (food, bill-paying, and health resource hardship), health outcomes (self-rated health, depression, sleep problems, and suicidal thoughts) in early adulthood, and the extent to which these associations were mediated by perceived stress. Results: The adjusted odds of fair or poor health status, depression, sleep problems, and suicidal thoughts were higher among individuals with material hardship than counterparts without. A considerable proportion of the association between material hardship and health outcomes was attributable to perceived stress. Conclusions: Material hardship is associated with adverse health outcomes in early adulthood, and these relationships are robust after accounting for various sociodemographic characteristics and family background. Perceived stress accounted for a sizable portion of the effects of material hardship on health. Public Health Implications: Efforts to promote health equity in young adults should focus on material hardship and associated stressful conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-75.e3
JournalAnnals of Epidemiology
Volume53
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Keywords

  • Early adulthood
  • Health status
  • Material hardship
  • Perceived stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

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