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By Mark Lundegren
Behavioral research published this past week in the Journal of The American Medical Association reminds us that money matters in modern life, if we want to advance our personal and community health. Though most of us understand this intuitively, and there is broad research linking quality of life to economic factors, the new study sheds additional light on the link between financial and other modes of modern well-being. In particular, it suggests that even brief economic dislocations can have long-term quality of life impacts for us all.
Early Twentieth Century Children At Work, Instead Of At School
The new study, conducted by researchers at the New York State Medical University, examined almost 9,000 adolescents born in the United States between 1980 and 1984 – a period marked first by economic recession and then subsequent recovery. The research team found a strong correlation with the overall unemployment rate during birth and infancy in this time and later adolescent propensities for a variety of maladaptive and unhealthy behaviors, including drug use, gang affiliation, and arrest.
The research findings do not show or explain causal links but are nevertheless intriguing, in that they demonstrate (and can be used to estimate) the community and societal costs associated with uneven economic conditions and employment security. In our own time of economic dislocation – one that is far deeper and broader than in the study period – the findings remind us we are likely paying enormous immediate and longer-term social costs for past and current economic policies favoring income growth over economic security. At the very least, the new research should compel us all to consider how less stable economics are affecting us and our larger social environment – and how this instability might be better mitigated in the interests of progressive health.
If you would like to learn more about how you and your community can begin to reduce the risk of economic disruptions and avoid the high health and quality of life costs they bring, it may be time to review HumanaNatura’s comprehensive Community Health Program. Our holistic and science-based approach to health-centered community leadership provides the tools to build your community along 12 modern natural health dimensions, including reducing community vulnerability to cyclical boom and bust economics…in favor of sustainable, dependable, and health-enabling economic security.
Mark Lundegren is the founder of HumanaNatura.
Photo courtesy of New Haven Newsboys
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