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Health consequences of employment and unemployment: Longitudinal evidence for young men and women


  • Graetz, Brian


This study examines the impact of employment and unemployment on psychological health and well-being, as measured by the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ). Using longitudinal data, it traces health changes over time for a variety of groups and through a variety of labour market experiences: during sustained employment and unemployment, in the transition from school to employment and unemployment, and as people move between employment and unemployment and between satisfying and unsatisfying jobs. The results show that employed people report significantly lower levels of health disorder than students and the unemployed. These differences are largely unaffected by demographic attributes, living arrangements, socioeconomic status or immediate labour market experiences, and can be attributed to employment status itself rather than predisposing health differences. However, the health consequences of employment and unemployment are directly contingent upon quality of work. As a result, the highest levels of health risk are found amongst dissatisfied workers and the lowest levels amongst satisfied workers. In between these two extremes lie employed people neither satisfied nor dissatisfied with their jobs, unemployed people irrespective of duration, and students. These results indicate that what happens in the workplace has even more impact on a person's health than success or failure in finding a job and keeping it.

Suggested Citation

  • Graetz, Brian, 1993. "Health consequences of employment and unemployment: Longitudinal evidence for young men and women," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 36(6), pages 715-724, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:36:y:1993:i:6:p:715-724

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    Cited by:

    1. Jefferis, Barbara J. & Nazareth, Irwin & Marston, Louise & Moreno-Kustner, Berta & Bellón, Juan Ángel & Svab, Igor & Rotar, Danica & Geerlings, Mirjam I. & Xavier, Miguel & Goncalves-Pereira, Manuel &, 2011. "Associations between unemployment and major depressive disorder: Evidence from an international, prospective study (the predict cohort)," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(11), pages 1627-1634.
    2. Frederick J. Zimmerman & Wayne Katon, 2005. "Socioeconomic status, depression disparities, and financial strain: what lies behind the income-depression relationship?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(12), pages 1197-1215.
    3. Gray, Matthew & Hunter, Boyd, 2005. "Indigenous Job Search Success," MPRA Paper 1393, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Ilse Laurijssen & Bram Spruyt, 2015. "Not for People Like Us? A Six-Year Panel Study of the Mutual Relationship Between Feelings of Relative Deprivation and Occupational Status Among Young Adults in Flanders," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 124(2), pages 617-635, November.
    5. Böhnke, Petra & Kohler, Ulrich, 2008. "Well-being and inequality," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Inequality and Social Integration SP I 2008-201, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    6. Alois Stutzer & Bruno S. Frey, 2004. "Reported Subjective Well-Being: A Challenge for Economic Theory and Economic Policy," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 124(2), pages 191-231.
    7. Ali Mehdi & Divya Chaudhry, 2016. "Human capital potential of India’s future workforce," Working Papers id:11079, eSocialSciences.
    8. Broom, Dorothy H. & D'Souza, Rennie M. & Strazdins, Lyndall & Butterworth, Peter & Parslow, Ruth & Rodgers, Bryan, 2006. "The lesser evil: Bad jobs or unemployment? A survey of mid-aged Australians," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 575-586, August.
    9. Ali Mehdi & Divya Chaudhry, 2015. "Human Capital Potential of India's Future Workforce," Working Papers id:7846, eSocialSciences.
    10. Perera, G. & Di Gessa, G. & Corna, L. M. & Glaser, K. & Stewart, R., 2017. "Paid employment and common mental disorders in 50–64-year olds: analysis of three cross-sectional nationally representative survey samples in 1993, 2000 and 2007," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 84652, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    11. Ying Liang & Runxia Cao, 2015. "Employment assistance policies of Chinese government play positive roles! The impact of post-earthquake employment assistance policies on the health-related quality of life of Chinese earthquake popul," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 120(3), pages 835-857, February.


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