Associations between Financial Decline and Harmful Health Behaviors: Comparing Perceived and Objective Indicators of Financial Decline

Lucie Kalousova, University of Michigan

Links between socioeconomic position and health have been extensively documented. Using a population-based sample of southeast Michigan residents, we build on this literature by examining how a decline in socioeconomic position may be related to adopting new harmful health behaviors, specifically smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of sleep, and drug use. We draw a distinction between objective decline, as assessed by change in income to needs ratio between two interviews, and perceived financial decline, reported at the second interview. Our preliminary findings indicate that people who have experienced a decline in their income-to-needs ratio are less likely to adopt new harmful health behaviors compared to those who have not. We find no evidence of associations between perceived financial decline and adopting harmful health behavior.

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Presented in Session 38: Changing Economic Conditions: Effects on Health