Anecdotes, we are often told, are not anecdata — meaning that no matter how stories you hear from friends, family, and acquaintances, you may not have the entire picture. It's how a candidate with no support in your social circle can win a contest or an election, and how your favorite restaurant can go out of business, even if you love the food. Sometimes, however, research does confirm what everybody knows, and in this case, it's that student debt loads can run your mental health into the ground.
Researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington have just published a study backing up every soul-crushing feeling you've ever had about student loans and your quest to pay them down. The stress of paying down student debt keeps workers working longer hours in part-time jobs, which results in holding fewer full-time jobs that can help pay down the debt. Not only that, but the debt and the loss of future financial resources to payments also depresses motivation, which keeps debtors from career and financial planning that can help them their whole lives.
"Student debt mainly had more negative effects on college students' likelihood of securing a full-time job than beneficial ones," said first author Ariane Froidevaux. "You can do certain things like getting a job during the summer that may help you get a full-time job upon graduation. But in the end, student debt leaves students with a lot of stress, and it is long-lasting."
There are numerous tactics out there for helping to manage and reduce debt, but if you're feeling down about your loans, the data shows you have every right to do so.