Would you be surprised to hear that over 72% of the population experience financial problems at some point in their lives? And, what’s even more worrisome is the correlation between money woes and physical manifestations of pain, according to findings of a new study
According to lead author of the study Eileen Chou, of the University of Virginia, she and colleagues determined that persons who are financially unstable experience higher levels of physical pain, when compared to individuals with greater financial security.
The study authors based their investigation on the fact that over the past 10 years complaints of physical pain and financial insecurity have steadily increased, and sought to determine if the two were linked in some way[i]
The Link Between Financial Insecurity And Pain Tolerance
Among other variables investigated, one of them was the consumption patterns of pain killers that could be bought over the counter (such as Advil or Tylenol)
This particular study encompassed over 33000 individuals, and revealed that household in which both adults were unemployed spent over 20% more on painkillers, during the year 2008.
This increased consumption of OTC painkillers could also be linked to decreased pain tolerance, as another laboratory based study sought to determine if financial security could be linked to it.
The study involving students assessed the link between financial stability and pain tolerance, by measuring the time a student could keep his hand in a bucket of ice water, while either envisioning a stable job market, or one in which they are unsure of a future.
The results were clear; when compared to the students with their minds on a stable job market, the students unsure of their financial future were unable to keep their hands in the ice as long.
However, this study is highly subjective, and could be biased for a number of reasons including clouded thoughts or false reporting by the students themselves.
The overall findings from 6 studies revealed that financial insecurity triggers psychological responses such as depression, anxiety and fear, processes that share a very similar pathway with pain development. In addition, the way an individual perceives his or her own financial situation could have even more far reaching implications, regardless of socially accepted statuses.
The authors of the study are optimistic that their findings can help policy making bodies as well as the general public to embrace a cycle of positive well-being, which will consequently reduce the dependence on pain killers and remedy the psychological weakness to pain.