Recessions May Contribute to Mental Decline Years Later: Study11/21/13
THURSDAY, Nov. 21, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Recessions can have
long-lasting effects, and they may not be just financial.
A new study has found that people affected by an economic
downturn in middle age may be at risk for mental decline later in
Researchers examined data from 12,000 people aged 50 and older
in 11 European countries.
Men aged 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 than those who did
not experience a recession, the investigators found.
Their findings were published online Nov. 20 in the
Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
The impact of recessions on women appeared to occur at an
earlier age, according to a journal news release.
Job loss and having to take part-time work or lower-paying,
lower-status jobs may explain the toll that recessions can take on
people's mental abilities, suggested researcher Anja Leist, at the
University of Luxembourg, and colleagues.
Previous research has suggested that good working conditions may
help people build up a mental "reserve," which in turn affects
mental performance at a later age.
Although the study found an association between economic
recessions in mid-life and later declines in thinking skills, it
did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
Administration offers tips for
through tough economic times.
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