Coping and financial strain as predictors of mental illness in over- indebted individuals in Sweden

Rebecka Holmgren, Emma Nilsson Sundström, Henrik Levinsson, Richard Ahlström

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This cross-sectional study examined psychological mechanisms in order to increase knowledge regarding mental illness amongst 561 over-indebted individuals in Sweden. Differences were explored between individuals with probable clinical depression and/or anxiety and individuals without probable clinical depression and/or anxiety, considering objective measures of the debt, financial strain, coping strategies as well as sociodemographic variables. Furthermore, binary logistic regression analyses were performed in order to construct a model of predictors of mental illness. In order to collect the data, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), Brief Coping Orientation to Problems Experienced (COPE_, as well as questions formulated by the research team, were used as measures. Prominent results showed that over-indebted individuals with probable clinical depression and/or anxiety were younger, showed greater levels of financial strain, used adaptive coping strategies to a lesser extent, and maladaptive coping strategies to a greater extent. Additionally, financial strain, use of maladaptive and emotion-focused coping, age and employment status were significant predictors of mental illness. These results put emphasis on the importance of adaptive coping as well as the psychological exposure of over-indebted individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-58
JournalScandinavian Journal of Psychology
Issue number1
Early online date2018 Dec 25
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Applied Psychology

Free keywords

  • anxiety
  • coping
  • depression
  • financial strain
  • Over-indebtedness

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