Heartbreaking effect of economic crisis laid bare in toll on our health

In the second part in our series on the nationwide survey of 1,000 adults, we reveal how we're consumed with money worries and the effect on our health as a result

Fiona Dillon

DOMESTIC bliss is being ruined by money problems.

Around one in three people admit to arguing more and more with their partners about money.

The devastating toll that the economic downturn has taken on the mental and physical health of the nation has been laid bare in a landmark survey.

The Herald/Today FM Behaviour and Attitudes survey reveals that an overwhelming 43pc of people aged between 20 and 49 feel the pressures of the downturn have had a negative effect on their physical health.

For those in their 40s, this finding was even more stark – more than half (51pc) had concerns that their health had been affected.

Worryingly, 39pc of people across all the age groups surveyed say that they have become "quite depressed over the last year, due to the pressures of the economic downturn".


The snapshot given of what is going on in the lives of more than 1,000 people reveals that money worries are weighing heavily on our minds.

Those in their thirties in particular are grappling with rising mortgage debts and the high cost of childcare, the survey shows.

Day-to-day living expenses are the greatest concern to Irish adults today (90pc), the figures show.

More than one in ten (12pc) reported that their mortgage repayments have fallen behind and they are in arrears with the bank.

A breakdown of the different age groups showed that this was an issue particularly affecting those in their forties (15pc), and their 30s (13pc), compared to those in their twenties (7pc), possibly reflecting the high numbers in this age group who are still living at home.

And a significant proportion of thirtysomethings who already have a home worry about the fact that it is most likely now in negative equity.

Around one in five respondents (22pc) say they would rather rent than buy a property, as they are afraid that prices will fall even further – those in their twenties are most likely to think this (30pc).


Others (23pc) say they would rather rent because they like the freedom of being able to live in different places. Those in their 30s are very concerned about rising mortgage debt (68pc), and the cost of childcare (63pc). Men in this age group are more worried about the cost of childcare (67pc) than women (58pc).

And there is no end in sight to the money worries as many people are already fretting about the money they will have to live on when we are older or retired – it is a concern for 85pc of people aged between 20 and 49. It is something that we worry about more the older we get. It's an issue that concerns 91pc of those in their 40s, 89pc in their 30s and 76pc in their 20s.