Loneliness and Behavioral Consequences of Negative Wealth Shock in Older Adults: Different During the Recession?

Louise Hawkley, NORC at the University of Chicago
Boyan Zheng , NORC at the University of Chicago
Xi Song, University of Chicago

People who undergo a significant financial loss suffer not only financial insecurity but also deterioration of mental and physical health. Personal financial losses are stigmatizing and may lead people to withdraw from their social relationships, thus contributing to a sense of isolation or loneliness at a time when people most need support. Negative financial shocks were prevalent during the Great Recession, which may have reduced the stigma and diminished the impact of negative shock on loneliness during the Recession relative to pre- and post-Recession periods. Using data from HRS (1996-2014), we found that a negative wealth shock between any two consecutive waves predicted greater odds of loneliness, but that this effect did not differ across periods. Reduced alcohol consumption and infrequent religious service attendance mediated a portion of the effect of wealth shock on loneliness.

See extended abstract

 Presented in Session 65. Income, Wealth, and Health