Debt and financial strain occur when a person or family does not have the financial means to pay their bills, and when this inability to pay bills continues to result in higher bills. The condition of being in debt might be caused by an unexpected illness or accident that comes with astronomically high medical expenses, or an unpaid student loan, or frivolous spending habits, or coming into a marriage with a high degree of personal debt, or unemployment/underemployment, just to name a few. Just as there are multiple reasons people could find themselves in debt, there are a variety of emotional and behavioral responses people have when faced with debt and financial strain. Beginning with a discussion of responses from individuals and couples, this entry ...

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