The recession has jolted Americans' faith in the future, left more people selfish and made most of us more mindful of saving money.
A new national survey by Warwick Baker & Fiore, a New York advertising agency, found that 20 percent of 1,004 people polled feel they will "never be the same" because of the recession. Men seemed more emotionally scarred, with 21 percent giving that answer, compared with 19 percent of women.
Among 18- to 34-year-olds, 26 percent said that they'd never be the same again, compared with 12 percent of those ages 35 to 54, who have lived through more recessions.
Interestingly, more people earning $50,000-plus a year gave that bleak answer (23 percent) than those making less than $20,000 (21 percent).
"The implication of the study is that the recession has caused people to reassess their behavior and, therefore, possibly their product purchases," said Susan Small-Weil, spokeswoman for the ad agency. "The recession appears to be one of these events that is causing people to re-evaluate their behavior."
The recession left people somewhat selfish, especially the young.
Forty-five percent of the whole sample plan to buy something for themselves as soon as they're sure better times are here. But among the 18-to-34 group, 51 percent will treat themselves, compared with 46 percent of 35- to 54-year-olds and only 40 percent of those 55 and older.