September , 2021
Financial stress may lead to physical pain
17:14 pm

Kishore Kumar Biswas

Findings from a recent medical research related to human psychology and nervous system has found some significant relevance in the global economic system which is facing a financial crisis. In the ongoing pandemic, a large section of people has lost their jobs. The loss to life has also been enormous. Many families have lost their sole earning members. The financial agony may end in future but the present suffering may leave a long-lasting health problem. The same situation was noticed after the global financial crisis of 2007 in many countries.

The research done by University of Georgia scientists and published in the journal Stress and Health observed that financial stress in a family in midlife is associated with a depleted sense of control, which is related to increased physical pain in the later years of life.

The newness of the research

Dr. Kanduada AS Wickrama, first author of the article and professor in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, University of Georgia reportedly said, “Physical pain is considered an illness of its own with three major components, biological, psychological and social. In older adults, it co-occurs with other health problems like limited physical functioning, loneliness and cardiovascular diseases.”

Research methodology

The source of data is from the Iowa Youth and Family Project. It is a longitudinal study that provides 27 years of data on rural families from a cluster of eight counties in north-central Iowa. The data was collected in real time from husbands and wives in 500 families. All of these families experienced financial problems associated with the late 1980s farm crisis. When the study was being done, most of the individuals had become over 65 years old. At the same time, the couples are in enduring marriages - some for as long as 45 years.

The findings

Even after researchers controlled for concurrent physical illnesses, family income and age, they found a connection between family financial hardship in the early 1990s and physical pain nearly three decades later. Additional information from the study is also important. The findings also reportedly show that it’s more likely that financial strain influences physical pain, though physical pain can in turn influence financial strain through additional healthcare costs. 

The study also finds that in their later years, many complain about memory loss, bodily pain and lack of social connections, according to scientists in the study group. Scientists also point out that nearly two-thirds of adults complain about some types of bodily pain and at the same time, many complain of loneliness. That percentage of the population is going up and the associated healthcare cost is also spiralling. This issue should be identified as a public health problem.

Role of the government

In this situation, the government needs to play a decisive role. Non-government organisations can also play a positive role. This problem is less in countries where the respective governments have been successful in providing a well-developed social sector.  

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