Do Psychological Interventions for Better Mental Health Lead to Higher Expectations on Future Income and Living Conditions?

Author Name SEKIZAWA Yoichi (Senior Fellow, RIETI) / GOTO Yasuo (Senior Fellow, RIETI) / SO Mirai (Keio University) / NOGUCHI Remi (Chiba University) / SHIMIZU Eiji (Chiba University)
Creation Date/NO. September 2016 16-J-052
Research Project Research Project on Mental Health from the Perspective of Human Capital 2
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Recent economic studies maintain that people who expect an increase in their income and improved living conditions tend to be happier and mentally healthier at the moment. As a reverse causality, there are studies, especially in psychology, maintaining that mental health related emotions such as anxiety and depression lead to pessimistic future expectations and that happiness leads to optimistic future expectations. We examine this relationship through a questionnaire on the Japanese version of consumer confidence which contains questions regarding expectations of living condition and income in the future. We examine whether psychological interventions aimed at improving mental health would enhance consumer confidence and expectations of future income and living conditions. Such interventions include internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy and emotion-focused mindfulness. The results show that consumer confidence for the intervention groups did not improve significantly as compared with the control group. Through panel data analyses using the above mentioned two intervention studies and one observation study, we reconfirm that a higher level of consumer confidence is associated with lower levels of depression, anxiety, and negative affect, and with higher levels of positive affect.