Do individuals return to baseline levels of well-being after recovering from poor health?

Publication type

Research Paper

Series Number



HEDG Working Papers


Publication date

January 15, 2016


While much recent research has focused on what happens to individual's
well-being following the onset of health conditions, one as yet
unaddressed question is what happens to wellbeing once individuals are
no longer suffering from those same health conditions. If treatment has
long term adverse effects, or if individuals become more worried about
their health even when the health condition no longer represents a
significant impediment, then individuals may not return to
pre-disability levels of well-being. Using a large nationally
representative dataset, I compare the well-being of individuals who
report that they were previously diagnosed with one of 13 different
health conditions but now no longer have those health conditions, to the
well-being of individuals who report that they have never been
diagnosed with those same health conditions. For many of the health
conditions examined, and using a number of different well-being
measures, I observed significant differences in the well-being of both
groups. This could suggest that individuals may not return to
pre-disability levels of quality of lifeonce they recover from health





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