How US adults weathered 'Great Recession'
Posted on Aug 18 2014 | IANS
New York, Aug 18 : The "Great Recession" in the US may have put a dent in the pocketbooks of many an older adult, but a study finds that over 40 percent actually reported a decrease in "financial strain" between 2006 and 2010.
Researcher analysed 5,205 respondents from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) - the largest national study of adults aged 51 and older - to examine the effect of financial strain on the mental health and use of mood-altering drugs by older adults.
They found that only one-quarter of respondents indicated an increase in financial strain between 2006 and 2010 while about one-third said their strain remained the same.
"It is difficult to determine precisely why so many adults would experience less financial strain in 2010 but one possible explanation may be the perceptual nature of these evaluations," said researcher Lindsay R. Wilkinson, an assistant professor of sociology in Baylor University's college of arts and sciences.
"Perhaps knowing that others were struggling to reduce the stress felt by individuals," she added.
Wilkinson also discovered, however, that both initial financial strain and increasing strain over the period of the "recession" exacted a toll on mental health.
For instance, increasing financial strain was associated with worsening anxiety and depressive symptoms and increased the likelihood of using drugs such as antidepressants.
Those who were employed were more likely to have increased financial strain, most likely due to worries about high unemployment and job security.
"Also more likely to report an increase in financial strain were younger respondents, black and Hispanic individuals, and those who gave themselves low health ratings," Wilkinson noted.
Individuals who were better educated and with greater household wealth were less likely to report increased financial strain, she said.