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Thursday 20th June 2019

Men's mental health hit worst by recession

18th October 2012

The mental health of men has been affected more than women due to the economic recession, according to a new study.


In research published online in BMJ Open, researchers in Glasgow suggested one reason why the economic recession, that began in 2008, has that impact was men might be more vulnerable than women to fears about job insecurity.

The team looked at data from the annual Health Survey for England for adults aged 25 to 64, between 1991 and 2010, with respondents asked about the employment status and educational attainment and general health to assess levels of anxiety and depression.

Levels or poor mental health were more common in the early 1990s and then improved until 2004 before another period of decline set in, rising sharply in 2008 as the economic situation deteriorated.

Mental ill health affected 13.7% of respondents overall in 2008, 16.4% in 2009 and 15.5% in 2010, with the deterioration in men’s mental health during both periods of economic downturn more marked than women.

Researchers said what was likely to lie behind this was worries about potential job loss – as found in previous research – and this might affect men’s mental health more than women’s.

They concluded: “One potential explanation for our results would be that job insecurity during the current recession is responsible for the deterioration in mental health, with men’s psychological health remaining more affected by economic fluctuations despite greater female labour market participation.”


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