Ryan Sager parses a study on the impact of downturns on individuals:
[T]he effects here aren’t solely on stock-market participation. Another study (abstract / PDF) looks at how recessions affect our beliefs about the world, using data from the General Social Survey from 1972 to 2006. Using time and regional variations in macroeconomic conditions to identify the effect of recessions on beliefs, the study finds that:
[I]ndividuals growing up during recessions tend to believe that success in life depends more on luck than on effort, support more government redistribution, but are less confident in public institutions.
What’s more, it finds that these effects, like the stock-market effects, are long-lasting.