For many men, the stress of not having a job may be greater than the stress associated with employment. New research shows unemployment can hasten death among men by a striking 63 percent.
Practically, in today’s turbulent economic times, recently laid-off men may benefit from aggressive cardiovascular screening and interventions aimed at reducing risk-taking behaviors.
Dr. Eran Shor, a sociologist from McGill University, reached these conclusions by surveying existing research covering 20 million people in 15 (mainly Western) countries, over the last 40 years.
The structure of the health care system (U.S. vs. Canadian vs. UK and others) did not influence mortality rate as the correlation between unemployment and a higher risk of death was the same in all the countries.
“Until now, one of the big questions in the literature has been about whether pre-existing health conditions, such as diabetes or heart problems, or behaviors such as smoking, drinking or drug use, lead to both unemployment and a greater risk of death,” Shor said.
“What’s interesting about our work is that we found that preexisting health conditions had no effect, suggesting that the unemployment-mortality relationship is quite likely a causal one. This probably has to do with unemployment causing stress and negatively affecting one’s socioeconomic status, which in turn leads to poorer health and higher mortality rates.”
Investigators determined unemployment increases men’s mortality risk more than it does women’s mortality risk (78 percent vs. 37 percent respectively).
Moreover, researchers determined the link between unemployment and mortality is much more significant for men than for women (78 percent vs. 37 percent).
The risk of death is particularly high for those who are under the age of 50.
“We suspect that even today, not having a job is more stressful for men than for women,” Shor said.
“When a man loses his job, it still often means that the family will become poorer and suffer in various ways, which in turn can have a huge impact on a man’s health by leading to both increased smoking, drinking or eating and by reducing the availability of healthy nutrition and health care services.”
Source: McGill University