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Financial Recessions May Contribute to Mental Decline

Posted Dec 18 2013 10:08pm

Economic downturns may exert negative health effects.  A large-scale data review involving 12,000 participants, ages 50 and older, suggests that lay-offs and downward job mobility may tap memory, verbal fluency, temporal orientation, and numeracy.  Anja K. Leist, from the University of Luxembourg (Luxembourg), and colleagues found that men ages 50 to 74 who lived through four or more recessions by the time they were in their mid- to late-40s had lower scores on mental abilities such as memory, speech and math, as compared to those who did not experience a recession. Women were also impacted by difficult financial times, with the effects evident at an earlier age. The study authors warn that: “Recessions at ages 45–49 among men and 25–44 among women are associated with later-life cognitive function, possibly through more unfavourable labour market trajectories.”

Anja K Leist, Philipp Hessel, Mauricio Avendano.  “Do economic recessions during early and mid-adulthood influence cognitive function in older age?” J Epidemiol Community Health, 20 Nov. 2013.

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