"I'm afraid I have bad news for you..." Estimating the impact of different health impairments on subjective well-being

Binder, Martin and Coad, Alex (2013) "I'm afraid I have bad news for you..." Estimating the impact of different health impairments on subjective well-being. Social Science & Medicine, 87 (1). pp. 155-167. ISSN 0277-9536

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Abstract

Bad health decreases individuals' happiness, but few studies measure the impact of specific illnesses. We apply matching estimators to examine how changes in different (objective) conditions of bad health affect subjective well-being for a sample of 100,265 observations from the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) database (1996-2006). The strongest effect is for alcohol and drug abuse, followed by anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses, stroke and cancer. Adaptation to health impairments varies across health impairments. There is also a puzzling asymmetry: strong adverse reactions to deteriorations in health appear alongside weak increases in well-being after health improvements. In conclusion, our analysis offers a more detailed account of how bad health influences happiness than accounts focusing on how bad self-assessed health affects individual well-being.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Depositing User: Martin Binder
Date Deposited: 03 Apr 2013 10:46
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2013 08:29
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/44136
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