Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Surprising number of older adults weathered the 'Great Recession' without financial strain

18.08.2014

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 pubinfo@asanet.org. 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 terry_goodrich@baylor.edu.

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), pubinfo@asanet.org

Daniel Fowler | Eurek Alert!
Further information:
http://www.asanet.org

Further reports about: Association HRS Health Sociological drugs financial situation strain

More articles from Business and Finance:

nachricht How long do firms live? Research finds patterns of company mortality in market data
02.04.2015 | Santa Fe Institute

nachricht Innovation among SMEs continues to fade
25.02.2015 | KfW

All articles from Business and Finance >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fast and Accurate 3-D Imaging Technique to Track Optically-Trapped Particles

KAIST researchers published an article on the development of a novel technique to precisely track the 3-D positions of optically-trapped particles having complicated geometry in high speed in the April 2015 issue of Optica.

Daejeon, Republic of Korea, April 23, 2015--Optical tweezers have been used as an invaluable tool for exerting micro-scale force on microscopic particles and...

Im Focus: NOAA, Tulane identify second possible specimen of 'pocket shark' ever found

Pocket sharks are among the world's rarest finds

A very small and rare species of shark is swimming its way through scientific literature. But don't worry, the chances of this inches-long vertebrate biting...

Im Focus: Drexel materials scientists putting a new spin on computing memory

Ever since computers have been small enough to be fixtures on desks and laps, their central processing has functioned something like an atomic Etch A Sketch, with electromagnetic fields pushing data bits into place to encode data.

Unfortunately, the same drawbacks and perils of the mechanical sketch board have been just as pervasive in computing: making a change often requires starting...

Im Focus: Exploding stars help to understand thunderclouds on Earth

How is lightning initiated in thunderclouds? This is difficult to answer - how do you measure electric fields inside large, dangerously charged clouds? It was discovered, more or less by coincidence, that cosmic rays provide suitable probes to measure electric fields within thunderclouds. This surprising finding is published in Physical Review Letters on April 24th. The measurements were performed with the LOFAR radio telescope located in the Netherlands.

How is lightning initiated in thunderclouds? This is difficult to answer - how do you measure electric fields inside large, dangerously charged clouds? It was...

Im Focus: On the trail of a trace gas

Max Planck researcher Buhalqem Mamtimin determines how much nitrogen oxide is released into the atmosphere from agriculturally used oases.

In order to make statements about current and future air pollution, scientists use models which simulate the Earth’s atmosphere. A lot of information such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

HHL Energy Conference on May 11/12, 2015: Students Discuss about Decentralized Energy

23.04.2015 | Event News

“Developing our cities, preserving our planet”: Nobel Laureates gather for the first time in Asia

23.04.2015 | Event News

HHL's Entrepreneurship Conference on FinTech

13.04.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rapid Detection of Cracks and Corrosion using Magnetic Stray Flux

28.04.2015 | Innovative Products

Discovery of an unexpected function of a protein linked to neurodegenerative diseases

28.04.2015 | Life Sciences

Rubber from dandelions / Scientists identify key components in the formation of rubber

28.04.2015 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>