Does the Recent Financial Crisis Impact Health and Happiness?
Has the global financial crisis of 2008 had measurable consequences for broadly defined health and happiness? Is its impact minor, transitory, or significant? If there is an impact, what are the most critical factors in determining the level and change of health and happiness in times of crisis? Our study is among the first to link a financial crisis simultaneously with both health and happiness. For our longitudinal study we designed a survey and collected semiannual survey responses from spring 2008 to spring 2010—five data points over two years, from 335 young professionals, who were mainly working professionals, and were former graduate students of the authors. The statistical analysis of the small and unique panel data reveals that the current global financial crisis has had a measurable and detrimental impact on health and happiness. In particular, there has been an immediate loss of happiness. Emotional health deteriorated at the onset of the crisis, and physical health followed after a delay, resulting in loss of happiness due to the financial crisis. We compare the impact of the financial crisis on happiness and health with that of the terrorist attack of 9/11 in the United States and of Hurricane Katrina on direct survivors. Such traumatic impact on people calls for financial-crisis prevention.