health; depression; obesity; financial assets; health disparities; Add Health


Public Health | Social Work


Introduction: Research has established a strong relationship between financial resources and health outcomes. Yet, little is known about the effects of assets disparities on health outcomes, especially during the critical period when adolescents transition to adults.

Methods: Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (n = 10,861), this study investigated the relationships between three household total assets value groups (low, moderate, and high assets) and three net worth groups (negative, neutral, and positive) on young adults’ general health, obese, and depression.

Results: Both assets and debts were related to young adults’ health status, young adults with more assets and positive net worth have higher probability to report a better level of both general health and depression. Young adult’s obesity was found to be associated with net worth but not with assets.

Conclusions and Implications: Our work connects health promotion with poverty alleviation to address the challenge of health disparity. A better understanding of different forms of financial resources (e.g., income, assets, and debts) and their dynamic relationships with health outcomes will contribute to developing effective asset-based interventions for promoting health status. Particularly, current policy and practice should consider the importance of resolving and clearing debt.


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