Research has shown that a drop of 25% or more in annual income can have major impact on the mental health of young adults.
“Large fluctuations in income across early adulthood may be deleterious for cognitive function and brain integrity in midlife,” lead study author Leslie Grasset, PhD, postdoctoral associate at the Inserm Research Center, University stated.
“Our exploratory study followed participants in the US through the recession in the late 2000s when many people experienced economic instability. Our results provide evidence that higher income volatility and more income drops during peak earning years are linked to unhealthy brain aging in middle age,” added Leslie.
This study involved over 3200 adults from racially hailing from a racially diverse population, between 23-35 years, who were enrolled in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study.
Annual pre-tax income of each household was reported every three to five years between 1990-2010. Researchers kept a track of fluctuations in income as well as the change percentage during this time period.
These participants were given memory and thinking tasks and their performance was compared against participants without any income drops.
The results were shocking and revealed that people with maximum drops took extra time to complete each task. When researchers adjusted factors, that could affect mental abilities like high blood pressure, education level, physical activity, and smoking, it was found that the results were similar.
MRI and brain scans of over 700 people were conducted both during the start and at the end of the study to measure their total brain volume as well as the volumes of various areas of the brain.
These studies showed that people who faced two or more income drops had a lesser brain volume as compared to people without any income drops. It was also found that people with one or more income drops had reduced connectivity in the brain.
“Those with more income drops also had more elevated depressive symptoms, had higher mean BMI and systolic blood pressure and were less physically active,” stated Leslie.
Do you know someone who has faced drastic drops in their income levels and their behaviour has changed over the period of time? If yes, probably, now you know the reason behind this.