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OHIO Expert

Deborah Thorne, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Sociology
Department of Sociology
College of Arts and Sciences

740-407-8094 (cell)

Nearly every day reports surface of Americans' credit woes and mounting debt, and each year the numbers of those filing bankruptcy climb. Dr. Thorne is an expert on the underlying causes and effects of personal bankruptcy.

Recently, Thorne determined that the face of those forced into bankruptcy is changing - bankruptcy among senior citizens has more than doubled over the past decade.

Co-funded by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Thorne and colleagues analyzed consumer bankruptcy surveys from 1991, 2001 and 2007 to determine who is filing for bankruptcy. The results showed the rate of bankruptcy has increased the most among older Americans, often from mounting medical bills.

Filing bankruptcy may not be the best answer for many, Thorne says. Additional research determined that one year after filing, one-third, or 35 percent, reported their financial situations were the same or worse than at the time of filing.

Even though most debtors had no other viable options, filing bankruptcy did little to improve their situations, and instead damaged their credit ratings.

The myth of a "fresh start" after bankruptcy is often just that - a myth, Thorne says.

Thorne's Expertise at a Glance:

  • Leading causes of bankruptcy
  • Middle-class status of bankruptcy filers
  • Relationship between medical problems and bankruptcy
  • Effects of bankruptcy on couples' relationships
  • Relationship between age and bankruptcy
  • Effects of bankruptcy on children
  • Value of mandatory financial education courses for bankruptcy filers
  • Federal policy recommendations
  • Differences between Chapters of bankruptcy

Thorne's Media Placements include:

  • The New York Times
  • U.S. News and World Report
  • National Public Radio (NPR) online
  • The Akron Beacon Journal
  • The Baltimore Sun
  • The Cincinnati Enquirer
  • Fox19-TV, Cincinnati
  • Health Affairs magazine
  • The Epoch Times
  • Press Zoom, the Netherlands
  • American Chronicle
  • Iowa Independent online
  • Detroit News online
  • Los Angeles Online Daily
  • Examiner online
  • PhysOrg online
  • Alivestyle magazine
  • Online radio news story with:  WBUR-FM (Boston, MA); WFAE-FM (Charlotte, NC); Vermont Public Radio (VPR); New Hampshire Public Radio (NHPR); KQED-FM (San Francisco, CA)

Economic Inequality: The Effects of Personal Bankruptcy

Areas of Expertise

Bankruptcy, Credit Card Debt, Personal Credit, Personal Finance, Sociology

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Jennifer Hughes
Comm. Specialist III

After hours on-call media specialist: 740.593.2200