Economic Stressors and Psychological Distress: Exploring Age Cohort Variation in the Wake of the Great Recession

Robyn Lewis Brown, Judith A. Richman, Kathleen M. Rospenda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined processes linking age cohort, economic stressors, coping strategies and two indicators of psychological distress (i.e. depressive symptoms and anxiety symptoms). Structural equation models were conducted utilizing data from a national survey that was undertaken in order to understand life change consequences of the period of economic downturn from 2007 to 2009 known as the Great Recession. Findings revealed that the associations between economic stressors and symptoms of both depression and anxiety were significantly greater for members of the millennial cohort compared with baby boomers. These effects are partly explained by the greater tendency of members of the baby boomer cohort to use active coping strategies. These findings clarify the circumstances in which age matters most for the associations among economy-related stressors, coping strategies and psychological well-being. They highlight how difficult economic circumstances influence the availability of coping strategies and, in turn, psychological well-being—and differently for younger and older age cohorts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-277
Number of pages11
JournalStress and Health
Volume33
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Keywords

  • age cohorts
  • coping strategies
  • economic stress
  • psychological distress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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