Health and Economy: Impact of the Great Recession on Physical and Mental Health Outcomes Open Access

Maini, Mansi (Spring 2018)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/b5644r59s?locale=en
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Abstract

 

The Great Recession of 2007 was the largest economic downturn in recent history. As a result, nearly 15 million individuals were unemployed by the end of 2009 and unemployment rates skyrocketed to 10.0%. Due to the multiple concurrent crises and global nature of the recession, it is posited to distinctly impact physical and mental health outcomes. Past research has evidenced a link between stress induced by economic crises and health; this study builds on past work by conducting a longitudinal analysis investigating both clinically diagnosed and self-rated measures of health. The purpose of this study is to examine how changes in total household income, job loss, housing foreclosures, and marital status impact physical and mental health. This study utilizes longitudinal data from waves two and three (2005-2015) of the Mid-Life in the United States (MIDUS) national study of how behavioral, social, psychological and biological factors come together to impact health and well-being (n=3293). Results indicate that gain in total household income leads to better self-rated physical health but not better self-rated mental health. Furthermore, results show that loss of job and loss of home are both associated with worse perceptions of self-rated physical and self-rated mental health. Finally, results indicate that loss of job is a better predictor of self-rated health outcomes than loss of home. Findings from this study provide insight towards which factors of the Great Recession led to poorer health outcomes. This study provides evidence that can guide future policies and interventions geared towards attenuating the impacts of macroeconomic, financial crashes on health and well-being. 

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

I.Introduction...................................................................................................... 1

II. Research Questions.........................................................................................3

III. Literature Review...........................................................................................3

Impact on Physical Health.............................................................................4

Impact on Mental Health...............................................................................7

Underlying Mechanisms.................................................................................9

Health and Marital Status.............................................................................12

IV. Hypotheses....................................................................................................12

V. Research Design and Methodology..................................................................13

Sample..........................................................................................................13

Measures.......................................................................................................14

Demographics................................................................................................14

Outcomes.......................................................................................................15

Data Analysis.................................................................................................18

VI. Results...........................................................................................................21

Self-rated Physical Health.............................................................................22

Self-rated Mental Health...............................................................................24

Cardiovascular Health...................................................................................26

VII. Discussion.....................................................................................................27

VIII. References...................................................................................................34

IX. Tables.............................................................................................................39

 

 

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