Books reflect the economic tone of their times - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

Books reflect the economic tone of their times

Updated:
© iStockphoto.com / David H. Lewis © iStockphoto.com / David H. Lewis
  • HealthMore>>

  • FDA to propose e-cigarette regulations

    FDA to propose e-cigarette regulations

    © FDA© FDA
    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is proposing long-awaited regulations governing the fast-growing electronic cigarette industry.More >>
    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is proposing long-awaited regulations governing the fast-growing electronic cigarette industry.More >>
  • People seek out health info when famous person dies

    People seek out health info when famous person dies

    WEDNESDAY, April 23, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The deaths of well-known people offer an opportunity to educate the general public about disease detection and prevention, a new study suggests. Researchers surveyed 1,400 American men and women after Apple co-founder Steve Jobs died of pancreatic cancer in 2011 and learned that more than one-third of them sought information about his cause of death or information about cancer in general soon after his death was reported. About 7 percent of th...More >>
    WEDNESDAY, April 23, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The deaths of well-known people offer an opportunity to educate the general public about disease detection and prevention, a new study suggests. Researchers surveyed 1,400 American men and women after Apple co-founder Steve Jobs died of pancreatic cancer in 2011 and learned that more than one-third of them sought information about his cause of death or information about cancer in general soon after his death was reported. About 7 percent of th...More >>
  • 1 in 13 U.S. schoolkids takes psych meds

    1 in 13 U.S. schoolkids takes psych meds

    More than 7 percent of American schoolchildren are taking at least one medication for emotional or behavioral difficulties, a new government report shows.More >>
    More than 7 percent of American schoolchildren are taking at least one medication for emotional or behavioral difficulties, a new government report shows.More >>

THURSDAY, Jan. 9, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," Dickens wrote in 1859.

And books often reflect the difficulties faced by people during tough economic periods, a new study shows.

Researchers examined 5 million English-language books from the 20th century and found that the frequency of words expressing misery and unhappiness was higher if there were difficult economic conditions in the 10 years before a book was written.

"When we looked at millions of books published in English every year and looked for a specific category of words denoting unhappiness, we found that those words in aggregate averaged the authors' economic experiences over the past decade. In other words, global economics is part of the shared emotional experience of the 20th century," study author Alex Bentley, of the University of Bristol in England, said in a university news release.

While some periods, such as the 1980s, were clearly marked by "literary misery," books from other periods were more upbeat.

"Economic misery coincides with WWI (1918), the aftermath of the Great Depression (1935) and the energy crisis (1975)," study co-author Alberto Acerbi said in the news release. "But in each case, the literary response lags by about a decade, such that authors are averaging experiences over that decade."

Bentley suggested that "perhaps this 'decade effect' reflects the gap between childhood, when strong memories are formed, and early adulthood, when authors may begin writing books."

He added, "consider for example, the dramatic increase of literary misery in the 1980s, which follows the 'stagflation' of the 1970s. Children from this generation who became authors would have begun writing in the 1980s."

The researchers also analyzed books written in German and found the same results.

The study was published Jan. 8 in the journal PLoS One.

More information

The American Psychological Association explains how to manage stress during tough economic times.

Copyright © 2014 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
Powered by WorldNow