Hardship during the Great Recession linked with lasting mental health declines

Posted on September 7, 2019

The Great Recession which occurred from 2007 to 2009 led to many individuals losing their jobs and depleting their financial resources. In order to examine the effects of the Great Recession on the psychological wellbeing of individuals, researchers from the University of Minnesota analyzed data collated from another study in the United States.

Researchers studied the data collected three years before and after the recession. The participants’ depressive and anxiety symptoms, drug and alcohol use and panic disorder symptoms were assessed. Participants were also asked if the recession had any related impacts on the, such as loss of job, bankruptcy or threatened with foreclosure.

Each hardship faced by an individual seemed to cause them to have a higher risk of developing mental disorders three years after the recession. Those who did not have any college education were also more likely to feel greater anxiety when it comes to employment related difficulties. Individuals who were living alone also had a higher chance of having problems with substance use.

Participants who were more wealthy experience more specific hardships which are related to their housing properties and financial instability, causing them to feel greater anxiety and engage in drug use due to those problems. These participants might have had to put their possessions up for sale or adjust to a less comfortable lifestyle as they were unable to maintain their previously lavish lifestyle.

The financial and psychological implications of the Great Recession show that individuals who do not have higher education or bring in low income experience low job security, causing them to feel more anxious regarding employment-related problems. On the other hand, individuals who were previously well off might have lost a significant portion of their assets and the need to settle for more frugal lifestyle is difficult for them.

The lasting mental health effects that the recession has left these individuals suggest that it would be helpful if programs that help to improve mental health were implemented after recessions. This would allow people to worry less about their economic difficulties and facilitate recovery from losses.

Category(s):Anxiety, Depression

Source material from Science Daily