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Do individuals return to baseline levels of well-being after recovering from poor health?

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  • Howley, P.

Abstract

While much recent research has focused on what happens to individual’s well-being following the onset of health conditions, one as yet unaddressed question is what happens to wellbeing once individuals are no longer suffering from those same health conditions. If treatment has long term adverse effects, or if individuals become more worried about their health even when the health condition no longer represents a significant impediment, then individuals may not return to pre-disability levels of well-being. Using a large nationally representative dataset, I compare the well-being of individuals who report that they were previously diagnosed with one of 13 different health conditions but now no longer have those health conditions, to the well-being of individuals who report that they have never been diagnosed with those same health conditions. For many of the health conditions examined, and using a number of different well-being measures, I observed significant differences in the well-being of both groups. This could suggest that individuals may not return to pre-disability levels of quality of lifeonce they recover from health conditions.

Suggested Citation

  • Howley, P., 2016. "Do individuals return to baseline levels of well-being after recovering from poor health?," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 16/02, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  • Handle: RePEc:yor:hectdg:16/02
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    File URL: https://www.york.ac.uk/media/economics/documents/hedg/workingpapers/1602.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Oswald, Andrew J. & Powdthavee, Nattavudh, 2008. "Does happiness adapt? A longitudinal study of disability with implications for economists and judges," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1061-1077, June.
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    4. Andrew E. Clark & Ed Diener & Yannis Georgellis & Richard E. Lucas, 2008. "Lags And Leads in Life Satisfaction: a Test of the Baseline Hypothesis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(529), pages 222-243, June.
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    6. Dolan, Paul & Peasgood, Tessa & White, Mathew, 2008. "Do we really know what makes us happy A review of the economic literature on the factors associated with subjective well-being," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 94-122, February.
    7. Amelie Gamble & Tommy Gärling, 2012. "The Relationships Between Life Satisfaction, Happiness, and Current Mood," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 31-45, March.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    life satisfaction; health; adaptation;

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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