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Recession depression: Mental health effects of the 2008 stock market crash

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  • McInerney, Melissa
  • Mellor, Jennifer M.
  • Nicholas, Lauren Hersch

Abstract

Do sudden, large wealth losses affect mental health? We use exogenous variation in the interview dates of the 2008 Health and Retirement Study to assess the impact of large wealth losses on mental health among older U.S. adults. We compare cross-wave changes in wealth and mental health for respondents interviewed before and after the October 2008 stock market crash. We find that the crash reduced wealth and increased feelings of depression and use of antidepressant drugs, and that these effects were largest among respondents with high levels of stock holdings prior to the crash. These results suggest that sudden wealth losses cause immediate declines in subjective measures of mental health. However, we find no evidence that wealth losses lead to increases in clinically-validated measures of depressive symptoms or indicators of depression.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 32 (2013)
Issue (Month): 6 ()
Pages: 1090-1104

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:32:y:2013:i:6:p:1090-1104

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505560

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Keywords: Mental health; Depression; Health status; Wealth; Income;

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References

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Cited by:
  1. Chad Cotti & Richard A. Dunn & Nathan Tefft, 2013. "The Dow is Killing Me: Risky Health Behaviors and the Stock Market," Working Papers 20, University of Connecticut, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Charles J. Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy.

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