Impact of the recession
Shields, Duncan MacArthur
Master of Science
SubjectRecessions (Social aspects)
Recessions (Psychological aspects)
Effect of recessions on mental health
MetadataShow full item record
Over the last few years, Canada and many other industrialized nations have been facing serious economic and fiscal crises. There is some evidence indicating that this kind of economic contraction is a significant source of psychosocial stress, and that during times of economic recession or uncertainty a relationship exists between economic events and measures of health and well being at both the individual and societal level. An exploration of the nature and strength of any such relationship is important in identifying individuals that may be at high risk due to economic contraction, and to identify what factors may buffer against the negative effects of recession. The present study was designed to assess the impacts of the current economic recession on a university student population. In addition to the exploratory aspect of this study, the relationship between economic events and depression and hopelessness was investigated within the framework of self-efficacy theory. The specific objectives were: to evaluate the relative contributions of domain specific (economic) self-efficacy, general self-efficacy, and outcome expectations in the determination of depression and hopelessness; and to investigate students' perceptions of the impact of economic recession on themselves and other students. Path analyses showed that depression was more strongly associated with beliefs about one's selfefficacy in general, while feelings of hopelessness were more strongly related to beliefs about personal control over economic issues. Outcome expectations were found to have no additional predictive value in understanding depression and hopelessness scores. These findings support the role of cognitive processes (self-efficacy beliefs) in the mediation of the effects of stressors such as negative economic events on mental health.