Parental debt may affect kids' behaviour
Houle, an assistant professor of sociology at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., said it stands to reason that debt taken on to better your life — like a college loan or a mortgage to buy a home in a safer neighbourhood — might lead to better outcomes in children.
On the other hand, he said, mounting debt linked to high-interest credit cards and short-term investments might indicate economic distress and be more harmful.
Debt information was then compared to reports from mothers on their children's behaviour either every year or every other year.
The research found that those who had more overall debt were more likely to have children with behaviour issues than those who had less overall debt.
Unpaid credit card bills a major culprit
By contrast, children of parents with mortgages and/or educational debt appeared to face a diminished risk for childhood behaviour problems.
But parents with piles of bills shouldn't be afraid their kids are all doomed to act out. For one thing, the study findings don't prove a direct cause-and-effect relationship between debt and childhood misbehaviour.
The study findings were published online Jan. 21 in the journal Pediatrics.