- Published on Apr 12, 2012
- Contact Wendy Wendland-Bowye
ANN ARBOR, Mich.—People who experience financial declines during a recession are more likely to report general and mental health problems that interfered with their daily lives, regardless of their education, income, age or race, according to a new study from the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health.
The study is based on a survey of 733 Genesee County residents in the Flint, Mich. area about their financial and health status in spring of 2009. The results were analyzed in 2011 and to be published online this month in the Journal of Behavioral Health. The years 2008-09 defined the peak of the recession.
The work is part of a long, ongoing relationship between U-M’s School of Public Health and the public health community in Flint.
“What we have here is the first social epidemiological study on this issue,” said Daniel J. Kruger, a research assistant professor at the School of Public Health and lead author. “This shows the health impact of the Great Recession at the local level in a community that has undergone decades of financial strain.”
Kruger said many studies in the past connected poor health outcomes to low socio-economic status. What makes this study unique is it shows that even temporary financial hardships can cause health problems and stress that interfere with life—even the ability to go to work—in a randomly selected demographic sample of the community.
The study is part of ongoing work of the Prevention Research Center of Michigan, which is based at the U-M School of Public Health. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funded 37 such centers nationally to promote health and conduct research. U-M researchers will share the data they collect with Genesee County’s public health community to improve life there. A symposium is scheduled for May 18 at U-M Flint.
In the past, researchers used U-M data to help write community health plans, booster successful grant proposals and urge public officials to invest in a taxpayer supported health insurance plan.
Additional authors include Ashley Turbeville from New York University and Emily Greenberg and Marc Zimmerman, both from the University of Michigan. The full paper is called, “An Increase in Economic Adversity Is Associated with Poorer Self-reported Physical and Mental Heath,” and can soon be viewed at www.scopemed.org.
For more information about the symposium and to register, visit www.safeandhealthyfutures.eventbrite.com