More Time to Take Care of Oneself: The Impacts of the "Great Recession" and Unemployment on Time Spent in Healthy Behaviors

Rachelle Hill, University of Minnesota

The “Great Recession,” which according to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) spanned December of 2007 to June of 2009, has become a focal point of scholarly discussion (e.g. Hurd and Rohwedder 2010; Isidore 2009). In light of the importance of healthy behaviors for future health outcomes and their possible connection to employment uncertainty, I examine the impacts of the Great Recession on physical activity, health-related self-care, and eating breakfast. To investigate these relationships, I draw on data from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) to examine patterns of healthy behaviors before and during years marked by the recession while also investigating the impact of being unemployed and living in states with poor economic conditions (as captured by high unemployment rates). Results show that being unemployed is an important predictor of healthy behaviors, whereas state economic conditions and historical time period are not as consistently related to healthy behaviors.

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Presented in Session 58: Health Behaviors and Inequality