It's not a surprise that in a modern materialistic society, the desire to buy the latest iGimmick will lead to sadness if the money to do so is not available but we fortunately have the statistics to back that up. The recent Great Recession was accompanied by a significant and sustained  major depression claims by U.S. adults, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

Prevalence of major depression increased from 2.33 percent during the years 2005-2006 to 3.49 percent in 2009-2010 to 3.79 percent in 2011-2012, according to the study by Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine researchers. Prevalence of less-severe depression increased from 4.1 percent in 2005-2006 to 4.79 percent in 2009-2010, but then declined to 3.68 percent in 2011-2012.

The authors believe the study is the first to evaluate the population-wide impact of the Great Recession on mental health. Though the federal government claims it is long over, they officially declared it ended in June, 2009, there are more people, 8 million fewer jobs a million homes were foreclosed after they declared it over. For those reasons, there are many who claim it is still happening - 90 million Americans remain out of work, percentage-wise the lowest since the Carter years in the 1970s. Linked to that, depression medication is also higher than ever.

Researchers analyzed data from 24,182 adults who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey during the years 2005 to 2012. Respondents were judged to be depressed depending on their answers to a depression questionnaire. The questionnaire asked about such depression criteria as depressed mood or irritability; decreased interest or pleasure in most activities; feelings of worthlessness or guilt; thoughts of suicide; and fatigue or loss of energy.

Prevalence of both major and less severe depression was highest among adults who were living in poverty or had less than a high school education. "The mental health of these vulnerable populations may be most affected during time periods of economic distress, but more research is needed," researchers wrote.

It's plausible, researchers concluded, that the Great Recession's negative effects on employment, housing security, and stock investments contributed to the sustained increase in major depression. However, they noted it is possible other factors could have played a role.

"The impact of the economic downturn on depression prevalence should be considered when formulating future policies and programs to promote and maintain the health of the U.S. population," they wrote.

The study was a collaboration among Loyola researchers in the Department of Public Health Sciences and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences.
Senior author of the study is Murali Rao, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Co-authors are Kaushal Mehta, MD, MPH (first author); Holly Kramer, MD, MPH, (corresponding author); Ramon Durazo-Arvizu, PhD; Guichan Cao, MS; and Liping Tong, PhD.