Plenty of people are stressed these days as they struggle to pay down debt. But many sure seem to like the feelings they get from swiping their credit cards or taking out other loans.
In a new study that touches on the sociological impact of spending and debt, researchers detected a heightened sense of empowerment and control among certain young credit-card users and student-loan borrowers. This sentiment was pronounced among those from lower-income groups who, presumably, will have a tougher time paying off their IOUs.
The study involved young adults. The more debt incurred by those in the 18-27 age group, the higher their self-esteem and the more in control they felt, according to researchers. But older respondents, in the 28-34 age group, voiced more stress over repaying what they owe.
"Young people seem to view debt mostly in just positive terms rather than as a potential burden," said Rachel Dwyer, lead author of the study and an assistant professor of sociology at Ohio State University, in a statement.
The study was published in the May issue of the journal Social Science Research.
In the study of more than 3,000 young adults, researchers examined the impact from two types of debts - college loans and credit-card balances.
"We thought educational debt might be seen as a positive because it is an investment in their future, while credit-card debt could be viewed more negatively," Dwyer said. "Surprisingly, though, we found that both kinds of debt had positive effects for young people.