IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Hostility, unemployment and health status: testing three theoretical models


  • Kivimäki, Mika
  • Elovainio, Marko
  • Kokko, Katja
  • Pulkkinen, Lea
  • Kortteinen, Matti
  • Tuomikoski, Hannu


This study examined three theoretical models of hostility, health and life context. According to the psychosocial vulnerability hypothesis, there is an interaction between hostility and adverse conditions. The increased health risk in hostile individuals is assumed to stem from their lower ability to benefit from existing psychosocial resources. The second hypothesis, called here the social context model, considers adverse conditions as an antecedent of both hostility and health problems. The third model states that hostility is a predictor of being selected to adverse conditions involving risk to health (the selection hypothesis). The results from a survey of a population-based random sample (2153 non-institutionalized citizens aged 18-64 years) in Finland, showed that hostile men had a high prevalence of non-optimal health, irrespective of employment status. In non-hostile men, employment was associated with better health than unemployment. This association between hostility and unemployment was not found in women. Corresponding findings were obtained from a 1959-born cohort of 311 individuals followed up for 27 years. The combination of high hostility at school age and unemployment in adulthood had an additive effect on poor health in adult men but not in adult women. Hostility in childhood was not significantly associated with unemployment in adulthood. Thus, this study supported the psychosocial vulnerability model in men.

Suggested Citation

  • Kivimäki, Mika & Elovainio, Marko & Kokko, Katja & Pulkkinen, Lea & Kortteinen, Matti & Tuomikoski, Hannu, 2003. "Hostility, unemployment and health status: testing three theoretical models," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(10), pages 2139-2152, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:56:y:2003:i:10:p:2139-2152

    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. Thomas, Duncan & Lavy, Victor & Strauss, John, 1996. "Public policy and anthropometric outcomes in the Cote d'Ivoire," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 155-192, August.
    2. Basu, Kaushik & Foster, James E, 1998. "On Measuring Literacy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(451), pages 1733-1749, November.
    3. Alderman, Harold & Garcia, Marito, 1994. "Food Security and Health Security: Explaining the Levels of Nutritional Status in Pakistan," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(3), pages 485-507, April.
    4. Haddad, Lawrence James & Alderman, Harold & Appleton, Simon & Song, Lina & Yohannes, Yisehac, 2002. "Reducing child undernutrition," FCND briefs 137, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    5. Shi, Anqing, 2000. "How access to urban potable water and sewerage connections affects child mortality," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2274, The World Bank.
    6. Mark R. Rosenzweig & T. Paul Schultz, 1988. "The Stability of Household Production Technology: A Replication," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 23(4), pages 535-549.
    7. Gragnolati, Michele, 1999. "Children's growth and poverty in rural Guatemala," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2193, The World Bank.
    8. Barrera, Albino, 1990. "The role of maternal schooling and its interaction with public health programs in child health production," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 69-91, January.
    9. Gibson, John, 2001. "Literacy and Intrahousehold Externalities," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 155-166, January.
    10. Lawrence Haddad & Harold Alderman & Simon Appleton & Lina Song & Yisehac Yohannes, 2003. "Reducing Child Malnutrition: How Far Does Income Growth Take Us?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 17(1), pages 107-131, June.
    11. Thomas, D. & Lavy, V. & Strauss, J., 1992. "Public Policy and Anthropometric Outcomes in Cote d'Ivoire," Papers 89, World Bank - Living Standards Measurement.
    12. Paul Glewwe, 1999. "Why Does Mother's Schooling Raise Child Health in Developing Countries? Evidence from Morocco," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(1), pages 124-159.
    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. Virtanen, Marianna & Kivimäki, Mika & Elovainio, Marko & Vahtera, Jussi & Kokko, Katja & Pulkkinen, Lea, 2005. "Mental health and hostility as predictors of temporary employment: Evidence from two prospective studies," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 61(10), pages 2084-2095, November.
    2. Elovainio, Marko & Kivimäki, Mika & Ek, Ellen & Vahtera, Jussi & Honkonen, Teija & Taanila, Anja & Veijola, Juha & Järvelin, Marjo-Riitta, 2007. "The effect of pre-employment factors on job control, job strain and psychological distress: A 31-year longitudinal study," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 187-199, July.
    3. Ellen Ek & Anitta Sirviö & Markku Koiranen & Anja Taanila, 2014. "Psychological Well-Being, Job Strain and Education Among Young Finnish Precarious Employees," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 115(3), pages 1057-1069, February.


    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:56:y:2003:i:10:p:2139-2152. 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.