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Losing life and livelihood: A systematic review and meta-analysis of unemployment and all-cause mortality

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  • Roelfs, David J.
  • Shor, Eran
  • Davidson, Karina W.
  • Schwartz, Joseph E.

Abstract

Unemployment rates in the United States remain near a 25-year high and global unemployment is rising. Previous studies have shown that unemployed persons have an increased risk of death, but the magnitude of the risk and moderating factors have not been explored. The study is a random effects meta-analysis and meta-regression designed to assess the association between unemployment and all-cause mortality among working-age persons. We extracted 235 mortality risk estimates from 42 studies, providing data on more than 20 million persons. The mean hazard ratio (HR) for mortality was 1.63 among HRs adjusted for age and additional covariates. The mean effect was higher for men than for women. Unemployment was associated with an increased mortality risk for those in their early and middle careers, but less for those in their late career. The risk of death was highest during the first 10 years of follow-up, but decreased subsequently. The mean HR was 24% lower among the subset of studies controlling for health-related behaviors. Public health initiatives could target unemployed persons for more aggressive cardiovascular screening and interventions aimed at reducing risk-taking behaviors.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:72:y:2011:i:6:p:840-854
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    Cited by:

    1. Eggs, Johannes, 2013. "Unemployment benefit II, unemployment and health," IAB Discussion Paper 201312, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
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    4. Isabel Aguilar-Palacio & Patricia Carrera-Lasfuentes & M. Rabanaque, 2015. "Youth unemployment and economic recession in Spain: influence on health and lifestyles in young people (16–24 years old)," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 60(4), pages 427-435, May.
    5. Johanna Catherine Maclean & Douglas A. Webber & Michael T. French & Susan L. Ettner, 2015. "The Health Consequences of Adverse Labor Market Events: Evidence from Panel Data," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(3), pages 478-498, July.
    6. Shor, Eran & Roelfs, David J., 2015. "Social contact frequency and all-cause mortality: A meta-analysis and meta-regression," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 76-86.
    7. Philippe Batifoulier & Denis Abecassis & Nicolas da Silva & Victor Duchesne & Léonard Moulin, 2016. "L’utilité sociale de la dépense publique," CEPN Working Papers hal-01421197, HAL.
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    9. Andersen, Ingelise & Brønnum-Hansen, Henrik & Kriegbaum, Margit & Hougaard, Charlotte Ørsted & Hansen, Finn Kenneth & Diderichsen, Finn, 2016. "Increasing illness among people out of labor market – A Danish register-based study," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 156(C), pages 21-28.
    10. Minelli, Liliana & Pigini, Claudia & Chiavarini, Manuela & Bartolucci, Francesco, 2014. "Employment status and perceived health condition: longitudinal data from Italy," MPRA Paper 55788, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    13. Loretta G. Platts, 2015. "A prospective analysis of labour market status and self-rated health in the UK and Russia," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 23(2), pages 343-370, April.
    14. 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.
    15. Kachi, Yuko & Inoue, Mariko & Nishikitani, Mariko & Tsurugano, Shinobu & Yano, Eiji, 2013. "Determinants of changes in income-related health inequalities among working-age adults in Japan, 1986–2007: Time-trend study," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 94-101.
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    17. Mine Kühn & Christian Dudel & Tobias C. Vogt & Anna Oksuzyan, 2017. "Trends in gender differences in health and mortality at working ages among West and East Germans," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2017-009, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
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    21. Rosenthal, Lisa & Carroll-Scott, Amy & Earnshaw, Valerie A. & Santilli, Alycia & Ickovics, Jeannette R., 2012. "The importance of full-time work for urban adults' mental and physical health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(9), pages 1692-1696.
    22. Shor, Eran & Roelfs, David J. & Bugyi, Paul & Schwartz, Joseph E., 2012. "Meta-analysis of marital dissolution and mortality: Reevaluating the intersection of gender and age," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 46-59.
    23. repec:eee:socmed:v:140:y:2015:i:c:p:136-146 is not listed on IDEAS
    24. repec:spr:ijphth:v:62:y:2017:i:9:d:10.1007_s00038-017-0972-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    25. Matthew Hagler & Sherry Hamby & John Grych & Victoria Banyard, 2016. "Working for Well-Being: Uncovering the Protective Benefits of Work Through Mixed Methods Analysis," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 1493-1510, August.

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