The "Great Recession" may have put a dent in many older adults' pocketbooks, but a new study, which will be presented at the 109th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, finds that more than 40 percent reported a decrease in "financial strain" between 2006 and 2010.
Researcher Lindsay R. Wilkinson, an assistant professor of sociology in Baylor University's College of Arts & Sciences, drew on 5,205 respondents from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) to examine the effect of financial strain on the mental health and use of mood-altering drugs by older adults. HRS, sponsored by the National Institute on Aging, is the largest ongoing national study of adults age 51 and older.
Wilkinson 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's 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," she said. "The Recession represents a historical time that affected a great number of people. Perhaps knowing that others were struggling reduced the stress felt by individuals."
Previous research has shown that economic stress typically decreases as one gets older, with the over-65 crowd benefitting from home ownership, medical insurance, and Social Security.
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.
Wilkinson noted that her study — which included individuals from ages 51 to 96 — differs from many others on the Great Recession because "financial strain" is a subjective measure that was based on self-reporting rather than on economic indicators. To measure financial strain, the study examined whether respondents had difficulty making monthly payments and whether and to what degree they were satisfied with their present financial situation.
"Difficulty in making payments may appear more objective than satisfaction, but it's still a person's perception of his or her financial situation," Wilkinson said. "Two people might have the same amount left over every month, but one might say, 'Oh, my goodness, that's not enough,' while the other might say, 'Well, I paid my bills.' Subjective measures matter, because it's your reality — and that has an effect on health."
A 2011 survey by the American Association of Retired Persons indicated that "the Great Recession drove millions of older Americans to deplete savings accounts, put off medical or dental treatment, and reduce their retirement expectations."
Wilkinson tested the theory that financial strain would have a negative effect on mental health by using three measures — whether and to what degree respondents felt anxiety, whether and to what degree they were depressed, and whether they used anti-depressants, tranquilizers, or medicine for nerves.
Less than 10 percent of respondents in 2006 were taking mood-altering drugs (such as antidepressants or tranquilizers), which increased to 13 percent in 2010.
Respondents in Wilkinson's study completed both face-to-face interviews and self-administered questionnaires in 2006 and 2010. Questions dealt with daily life stressors, well-being, and psychosocial resources. The average age of those in the study in 2006 was 64, with most (68 percent) married and less than half employed. The average self-rating of health was 3.4 (on a scale of 1 to 5).
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.
Individuals who were better educated and with greater household wealth were less likely to report increased financial strain.
About the American Sociological Association
The American Sociological Association, founded in 1905, is a non-profit membership association dedicated to serving sociologists in their work, advancing sociology as a science and profession, and promoting the contributions to and use of sociology by society.
The paper, "Financial Strain and Mental Health Among Older Adults: Lingering Effects of the Great Recession?," will be presented on Monday, Aug. 18, at 8:30 a.m. PDT in San Francisco at the American Sociological Association's 109th Annual Meeting.
To obtain a copy of the paper; for assistance reaching the study's author(s); or for more information on other ASA presentations, members of the media can contact Daniel Fowler, ASA Media Relations Manager, at (202) 527-7885 or email@example.com. During the Annual Meeting (Aug. 16-19), ASA Public Information Office staff can be reached in the on-site press office, located in the Hilton San Francisco Union Square's Union Square 1-2 Room, at (415) 923-7506 or (914) 450-4557 (cell).
This press release was written by Terry Goodrich, Assistant Director of Media Communications, Baylor University. For more information about the study, members of the media can also contact Goodrich at (254) 710-3321 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Papers presented at the ASA Annual Meeting are typically working papers that have not yet been published in peer reviewed journals.
Contact: Daniel Fowler, (202) 527-7885, (914) 450-4557 (cell), email@example.com
Daniel Fowler | Eurek Alert!
Microtechnology industry is hiring – positive developments of past years continue
09.04.2018 | IVAM Fachverband für Mikrotechnik
RWI/ISL-Container Throughput Index with minor decline on a high overall level
20.03.2018 | RWI – Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung
University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.
Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...
Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.
The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...
Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.
Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...
In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
09.04.2018 | Event News
20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
20.04.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research
20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy