Financial stress and depression in adults: A systematic review

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
187 Downloads (Pure)


Financial stress has been proposed as an economic determinant of depression. However, there is little systematic analysis of different dimensions of financial stress and their association with depression. This paper reports a systematic review of 40 observational studies quantifying the relationship between various measures of financial stress and depression outcomes in adults. Most of the reviewed studies show that financial stress is positively associated with depression. A positive association between financial stress and depression is found in both high-income and low-and middle-income countries, but is generally stronger among populations with low income or wealth. In addition to the “social causation” pathway, other pathways such as “psychological stress” and “social selection” can also explain the effects of financial stress on depression. More longitudinal research would be useful to investigate the causal relationship and mechanisms linking different dimensions of financial stress and depression. Furthermore, exploration of effects in subgroups could help target interventions to break the cycle of financial stress and depression.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0264041
Number of pages20
JournalPLOS One
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 22 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Guan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Financial stress and depression in adults: A systematic review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this