Sleep, libido, stress: inflation has a serious impact on the mental health of the French

Sleep, libido, stress: inflation has a serious impact on the mental health of the French

The rising cost of living is not without consequences on the well-being and mental health of the population, as revealed by a recent survey. Nearly a quarter of French people say they have experienced financial difficulties over the last twelve months, with harmful effects on their stress levels, their sleep, their libido, their self-esteem, and their social relationships.

The financial situation of the French has continued to worsen in recent years, and particularly in 2023, according to a barometer made public by Secours Populaire at the start of the school year. The rise in prices, combined with the fall, if not the stagnation, of income, among other things, has considerably deteriorated the finances of the population, to the point that nearly one in five French people (18%) now live overdrawn, i.e. three points more than in 2022, and more than half of French people are unable to put money aside. A difficult context which has a heavy impact on the mental health of those mainly concerned, as revealed by a survey carried out by Ifop for the online broker Ymanci. It appears that more than two thirds of French people (67%) say they have already experienced financial difficulties, including almost a quarter (23%) in the last twelve months.

Libido, anxiety, depression

These difficulties have significantly damaged their morale, to the point of leading to mental health problems. Among those who have had to face an unstable financial situation, or even a situation of over-indebtedness, 87% have suffered from at least one psychological disorder, including 44% during the past year. Periods of stress and anxiety (77% including 33% in the last twelve months), sleep disorders (73% including 33%), crying spells (58% including 25%), and episodes of depression (44% including 19%), are among the most cited psychological disorders. But part of the panel also reported libido disorders (32% including 15% in the last twelve months), demonstrating the impact that financial difficulties can have on their daily lives.

If we look at the profile of people who have suffered from this type of disorder due to a difficult financial context over the last twelve months, we see that young people and women are more affected. More than eight out of ten French people aged 18 to 24 say they have experienced this situation, compared to 58% of 25-34 year olds, 52% of 35-49 year olds, and 20% of those aged 65 and over. In the same vein, 46% of women have been affected by at least one psychological disorder in the last twelve months, compared to 41% of their male counterparts.

An impact on social life… and Christmas

But the lack of money is also a source of isolation and social exclusion for almost three quarters of the French people concerned (74%), including 38% who have been confronted with it over the last twelve months. More than half of respondents who have already suffered from financial difficulties (58%) say they have already felt alone, 44% have had the impression of being failures or felt excluded, 42% have changed their behavior with the others, and 41% did not feel understood by those around them. Beyond the feeling of exclusion, money problems also play a role in well-being and fulfillment. More than three quarters of respondents who had experienced financial difficulties (76%) indicated that they had given up on an outing (bar, restaurant, other event) with loved ones so as not to have to incur costs.

Giving up going on vacation with loved ones (67%), giving up entertaining friends (53%), not being invited to this or that event (34%), and giving up approaching a crush (26%), are among the the situations faced by French people affected by financial concerns. And that’s without taking into account the impact that this can have on life as a couple (22% mention a breakup among the situations experienced due to their financial problems).

The deterioration of the financial situation of the French will also have an impact on the way they experience the end-of-year holidays. More than three quarters of respondents affected by financial difficulties (79%) plan to reduce their budget during this time of year. This will particularly concern the non-food budget linked to Christmas and New Year’s Day (69%), the budget dedicated to gifts (65%), or the budget associated with end-of-year holiday meals (61%). . Note also that those who plan to buy gifts despite a tight budget say the majority are stressed by the total amount of expenses allocated to these gifts (57%), an increase of 18 points compared to 2020.

This Ifop study for Ymanci was carried out by self-administered online questionnaire from November 20 to 23, 2023 with a sample of 2,220 people, representative of the population aged 18 and over residing in mainland Europe.