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 firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com.
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), firstname.lastname@example.org
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
A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.
The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences
20.07.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences