Predictors of health behaviors after the economic downturn: A longitudinal study

Jonathan T. Macy, Laurie Chassin, Clark Presson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

Economic declines and their associated stress, shortage of financial resources, and changes in available time can impair health behaviors. This study tested the association between change in working hours, change in employment status, and financial strain and health behaviors measured after the 2008 recession after controlling for pre-recession levels of the health behaviors. The moderating influences of demographic factors and pre-recession levels of the health behaviors on the association between change in working hours and employment status and financial strain and the health behaviors were also tested. Participants (. N=3984) were from a longitudinal study of a U.S. Midwestern community-based sample. Regression analyses tested the unique relations between change in hours worked per week, change in employment status, and financial strain and five health behaviors over and above demographic factors and pre-recession levels of the same behavior. Models included predictor by covariate interactions. Participants who reported higher levels of financial strain engaged in lower levels of all but one of the five health behaviors, but there were no significant main effects of a change in the number of hours worked per week or change in employment status. Significant interactions revealed moderation of these relations by demographic characteristics, but findings differed across health behaviors. Financial strain negatively affected engagement in multiple healthy behaviors. Promoting the maintenance of healthy behaviors for disease prevention is an important public health goal during times of economic decline.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-15
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Volume89
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2013

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Keywords

  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Financial strain
  • Health behaviors
  • Seat belts
  • Smoking
  • USA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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