Economic indicators predict changes in college student optimism for life events Academic Article uri icon


  • 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. This investigation explored the extent to which an economic recession predicted changes in college students' optimism about the length and quality of their futures. In a cross-sectional design, college students in the United States rated their likelihood of divorcing, being unhappy in their career, and living past age 60, at time points before, during, and in the aftermath of an economic recession (2007-2010). Economic indicators, particularly gas prices, predicted decreased optimism as the indicators worsened. After the recession, however, optimism rebounded. The findings reveal that people's expectations for their personal futures are generally sensitive to the state of the national economy.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Lench, H. C., & Bench, S. W.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Lench, Heather C||Bench, Shane W

publication date

  • January 2014