Financial Advisers Suffered From PTSD After 2008 Market Crash

Post-traumatic stress disorder is usually associated with a significant trauma, such as engaging in or witnessing a military confrontation. However, the traumatic events that can lead to PTSD are varied in nature and severity. PTSD can be the result of tragic events such as a car accident, or a particularly difficult labor and delivery.

The symptoms associated with PTSD are also varied, just as are the events that lead to the disorder. Patients may experience anxiety, depression, insomnia and flashbacks. Treating the disorder can be challenging, given the individual nature of the symptoms and root cause.

Recently, the Huffington Post reported about a study in which researchers at Kansas State University detected an association between PTSD symptoms and financial planners managing portfolios at the time of the 2008 financial crisis.

The study found that 93 percent of individuals in that role indicated that they experienced medium or high stress levels following the crisis. Of those surveyed, 39 percent reported symptoms that were consistent with criteria for a PTSD diagnosis. The findings appear in a recent issue of the Journal of Financial Therapy.

Of the financial planners who participated in the survey, about half reported that they were led to question their role in helping others manage their assets. All of the financial planners surveyed managed portfolios with an average value of at least $20 million and as high as $40 million.

Brad Klontz, co-author of the study and an associate professor at Kansas State University, explained to MarketWatch that financial planners were losing sleep at night, worrying about their responsibility in the crisis.

Consistent with the symptoms of PTSD, 70 percent of the respondents reported that the crisis was on their minds even when they didn’t intend to think about it. While the majority of the financial planners interviewed have now recovered from the impact of high levels of stress, their practices have not returned to pre-crisis activities

The financial planners report that they have changed how they manage assets. While risk-taking might have been valued before the crisis, many planners are now evaluating those strategies with a careful eye.

While the study provides evidence of an association between PTSD and financial planners after the 2008 crisis, the authors are careful to note that the study does not prove any cause-and-effect relationship. The symptoms were reported by the financial planners, but the study cannot provide evidence that the crisis, and not some other factor or combination of factors, caused the symptoms to develop.

While PTSD has generally been associated with certain types of tragic events, such as participation in a military combat situation, the findings of the study indicate that the disorder may have a broader scope than previously thought.

The findings may provide a springboard for exploring whether the symptoms of PTSD could be associated with other types of stressful employment. Many high-stress jobs could bear similarities to the stress levels exhibited by the financial planners during the 2008 crisis.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on June 12th, 2013
Posted in PTSD

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