IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

A case-control study of employment status and mortality in a cohort of Australian youth


  • Morrell, Stephen
  • Taylor, Richard
  • Quine, Susan
  • Kerr, Charles
  • Western, John


Recent studies have demonstrated a link in young populations between unemployment and ill health. The purpose of this study is to correlate mortality with employment status in two cohorts of young Australian males, aged 17-25 years, from 1984 to 1988. Two youth cohorts consisting of an initially unemployed sample (n=1424 males) and a population sample (n=4573 males), were surveyed annually throughout the study period. Those lost to follow-up during the survey period were matched with death registries across Australia. Employment status was determined from weekly diaries and death certificates and was designated as: employed or student; unemployed; not in the work force (excluding students). Conditional logistic regression, using age- and cohort- matched cases (deaths) and controls (alive), was used to estimate the odds ratio (OR) of dying with regard to employment status, taking into account potential confounders such as ethnicity, aboriginality, educational attainment, pre-existing health problems, socio-economic status of parents, and other factors. Twenty three male survey respondents were positively matched to death registry records. Compared to those employed or students (referent group), significantly elevated ORs were found to be associated with neither being in the workforce nor a student for all cause, external cause, and external cause mortality other than suicide. Odds ratios were adjusted for age, survey cohort, ethnicity, pre-existing physical and mental health status, education level, and socio-economic status of parent(s). A statistically significant increasing linear trend in odds ratios of male mortality for most cause groups was found across the employment categories, from those employed or student (lowest ORs), through those unemployed, to those not in the workforce (highest ORs). Suicide was higher, but not statistically significantly, in those unemployed or not in the workforce. Suicide also was associated, though not significantly, with the respondent not living with their parents when they were 14 years of age. No association was found between mortality and past unemployment experience, as measured by length of time spent unemployed, or the number of spells of unemployment experienced during the survey. The results of this study underscore the elevated risk to survival in young males as a consequence of being neither employed nor a student.

Suggested Citation

  • Morrell, Stephen & Taylor, Richard & Quine, Susan & Kerr, Charles & Western, John, 1999. "A case-control study of employment status and mortality in a cohort of Australian youth," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 383-392, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:49:y:1999:i:3:p:383-392

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Johansson,Per-Olov, 1995. "Evaluating Health Risks," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521478786, March.
    2. Cropper, M L, 1981. "Measuring the Benefits from Reduced Morbidity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(2), pages 235-240, May.
    3. Wagstaff, Adam, 1986. "The demand for health : Some new empirical evidence," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 195-233, September.
    4. Grossman, Michael, 1972. "On the Concept of Health Capital and the Demand for Health," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(2), pages 223-255, March-Apr.
    5. Christian Dustmann, 1996. "The social assimilation of immigrants," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 9(1), pages 37-54, February.
    6. Amemiya, Takeshi, 1981. "Qualitative Response Models: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 1483-1536, December.
    7. Michael Grossman, 1972. "The Demand for Health: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gros72-1, January.
    8. Veall, Michael R & Zimmermann, Klaus F, 1996. " Pseudo-R-[superscript 2] Measures for Some Common Limited Dependent Variable Models," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(3), pages 241-259, September.
    9. Cameron, A Colin & Trivedi, Pravin K, 1986. "Econometric Models Based on Count Data: Comparisons and Applications of Some Estimators and Tests," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 1(1), pages 29-53, January.
    10. Winfried Pohlmeier & Volker Ulrich, 1995. "An Econometric Model of the Two-Part Decisionmaking Process in the Demand for Health Care," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(2), pages 339-361.
    11. Torrance, George W., 1986. "Measurement of health state utilities for economic appraisal : A review," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 1-30, March.
    12. Johansson,Per-Olov, 1995. "Evaluating Health Risks," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521472852, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Roelfs, David J. & Shor, Eran & Davidson, Karina W. & Schwartz, Joseph E., 2011. "Losing life and livelihood: A systematic review and meta-analysis of unemployment and all-cause mortality," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 72(6), pages 840-854, March.
    2. Cooper, D. & McCausland, W.D. & Theodossiou, I., 2006. "The health hazards of unemployment and poor education: The socioeconomic determinants of health duration in the European Union," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 273-297, December.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:49:y:1999:i:3:p:383-392. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.