Navigation Links
Great Depression did not significantly improve life expectancy in the US
Date:3/25/2011

A study published today provides a new perspective on the Great Depression of the 1930s. A widely held view is that there were remarkable improvements in life expectancy of over five years. Using data from urban populations, researchers found that it was actually associated with an increase in suicides but reduction in motor-vehicle accidents, a pattern consistent with the impacts of the current recession in Europe and the U.S. The study, led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, is published in today's issue of the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

Senior author of the study, Dr David Stuckler, of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Harvard School of Public Health, said: "Our study provides evidence that even major depressions do not imply mortality crises. Whether health improves or worsens during hard times depends mainly on how governments choose to respond."

Professor Martin McKee, of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: "This study reminds us of the importance of learning the lessons of the Great Depression for the situation we face now, both in terms of the implications for the economy and for health."

Previous studies had mainly relied on countrywide data to study trends in health during the Great Depression. For the first time, the authors looked at mortality data on 30 causes of death covering 114 US cities and 36 US states between 1929 and 1937. Banking crises were an iconic feature of the depression, and also one of the very few measures available to capture the variation in the impact of the Great Depression among states. Importantly, at that time, banks were not allowed to operate across state borders, whereas workers and production could do. Banks may 'suspend' temporarily, but no one knew at the time how permanent this would be, creating a loss of a sense of control. The authors investigated the relationships of bank suspensions and personal income with the rises and falls in mortality.

Overall, the authors found that a higher rate of bank suspensions was significantly associated with higher suicide but lower death rates from motor-vehicle accidents; no significant effects were observed for 30 other causes of death. Consistent with smaller-scale studies of this period, the authors found no evidence of a delayed, longer-term effect of the Great Depression on population health. Using alternative measures, such as economic output and personal income, the authors found similar patterns.

The authors concluded: "We found that mortalities in US urban populations significantly fell during the Great Depression. We were able to confirm our hypothesis that, within this overall change, there were some components, such as reductions in infectious disease mortality and increases in deaths from chronic diseases that were independent of bank suspensions. Thus, these changes cannot clearly be linked to the Great Depression."

The authors note that it is likely that the New Deal, the birth of the U.S. social security system and large fiscal stimulus, combined with Prohibition of alcohol, helped to prevent a major mortality crisis. They show that, after Prohibition was lifted in 1933, in an effort to stimulate the economy, alcohol-related mortality increased significantly. Other regions that introduced major cuts to social welfare had differing patterns of mortality during crises, the authors note, pointing to the mortality crises in eastern European during their economic depressions of the 1990s. They conclude, "Future work is needed to understand the potentially protective effects of the New Deal and Prohibition."


'/>"/>

Contact: Martin McKee
martin.mckee@lshtm.ac.uk
44-079-738-32576
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. ADHDs Upside: Greater Creativity?
2. Report: International collaboration between researchers results in greater recognition
3. WSU study may lead to greater understanding of human genome regulation
4. Researchers pinpoint patients who receive greatest benefit from heart failure treatment
5. Experts call for greater pain assessment in hospitals as 65 percent of patients report problems
6. Poor sleep quality is associated with greater disability in rheumatoid arthritis patients
7. Study finds that electronic fetal heart rate monitoring greatly reduces infant mortality
8. Greater Caution Urged for X-Rays in Pregnancy, Infants
9. Experts call for greater awareness of the links between diabetes and kidney disease
10. The great tonsil dilemma
11. Suicide risk greater for people living at higher elevations
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/27/2017)... , ... February 27, 2017 , ... The threat of ... to work for a company involved in the underground testing of nuclear weapons. Years ... for Answers: Expendable Workers of the Cold War Nuclear Testing,” Clayton exposes the critical ...
(Date:2/27/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Orange County dentist, Dr. A. Rassouli, comments on ... when the bacteria in plaque infect the gums and other tissues supporting the teeth. ... planing or SRP, and can include surgical therapies if the condition has led to ...
(Date:2/27/2017)... ... February 26, 2017 , ... Miro is the ultimate smart media ... system brings songs, movies, TV shows and much more apps for user exploration. Its ... An immersive view of 1280 x 720 provides crisp images with remarkable clarity and ...
(Date:2/27/2017)... , ... February 27, 2017 , ... ... threshold mark last week. In addition, Discount Power's RCE (Residential Customer Equivalent) count ... in March 2014. The company had 800 customers and 2,250 RCEs at the ...
(Date:2/27/2017)... CA (PRWEB) , ... February 27, 2017 , ... ... for hair transplantation therapy, is proud to announce a new informational post on ... therapy procedures. Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) hair transplant and Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT) ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/27/2017)... Md. , Feb. 27, 2017  RegeneRx ... a clinical-stage drug development company focused on tissue ... licensee for RGN-137, GtreeBNT Co., Ltd., received a ... Phase 3 clinical trial design for RGN-137 to ... wound healing gel that incorporates Thymosin beta 4 ...
(Date:2/27/2017)... 27, 2017 A recent research report published ... market alone is expected to reach a value of $55.8 billion ... along with 28 states have legalized marijuana for medical uses. In ... Florida , North Dakota , ... to use the drug in medical applications such as chemotherapies and ...
(Date:2/27/2017)... N.J. and PETACH TIKVAH, Israel ... Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: BCLI), a leading developer of adult ... appointments of June S. Almenoff , M.D., Ph.D., ... to its Board of Directors.  "Dr. ... executives whose appointments come at an exciting time for ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: