Do you worry about money? If you do, that’s natural. It turns out that 72% of us feel stressed out financially at some point. However, worrying about money could actually cause more problems according to a recent study.


Eileen Chou, of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, found that people who feel financially unstable experience more physical pain than those who feel financially secure. The results were published published in Psychological Science - a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.


In one study, the team analyzed data from a geographically diverse consumer panel of 33,720 people across the US. The data included analyzing OTC (over the counter) painkillers.


The results were the following: compared with households in which at least one adult was employed, the team found that households in which both adults were unemployed spent around 20% more on OTC painkillers in 2008.


 The researches then decided to do a laboratory-based study. They asked students to think about entering a stable or unstable job market while placing one hand in a bucket of ice water (yikes!). The pain tolerance was measured by how long participants could keep their hand in the ice water.

It turns out, compared with students who thought about entering a stable job market, those who thought about entering an unstable job market showed reduced pain tolerance; they were unable to keep their hand in the ice water for as long.


As you might guess, the people studied who were not financially secure were driven by the feeling they had no control over their lives. They explain that this feeling can trigger psychological processes linked to anxiety, fear and stress leading to physical pain. When you’re in physical pain, your bones hurt and your body will ache. When you’re in physical pain, your bones hurt and your body will ache. You might end up getting injured (if you do, make sure you schedule a MRI with us). Although this might sound extreme, it’s much better to be safe than sorry.


This study is important because it further shows the dangers of economic insecurity. In the future, the researchers “hope for short-circuiting the downward spiral initiated by economic insecurity and producing a new, positive cycle of well-being and pain-free experience”.