In December 2007, the U.S. entered into the Great Recession, the most significant economic downturn since the 1930s. In 2008, the nation experienced a widespread financial crisis marked by a stock market crash later that year. Although the recession officially ended in 2009, economic troubles persist, and some economists say the U.S. is now in the midst of the second ?Great Contraction? in its history.
While the financial consequences to American households resulting from job losses, high unemployment, and declining savings and home values have received considerable attention, the secondary impact of these events on Americans? health and health-related outcomes are less well known. The financial stresses of the Great Recession may have triggered psychological responses like depression and anxiety. Because high stress levels burden the cardiovascular and immune systems, physiological effects may also arise. In addition, the recession may have impacted access to medical care through the loss of health insurance or a reluctance to take time off from work for self-care. In this project, we will examine the short-term and long-term impacts of the Great Recession on physical and mental health, health behaviors, healthcare use, and health insurance.