Health and re-employment in a five-year follow-up of long-term unemployed

Scand J Public Health. 1999 Jun;27(2):94-100.


Objectives: To study health and re-employment in a five-year follow-up of a community sample of long-term unemployed people.

Methods: A random sample registered for more than 12 weeks at the labour offices in Grenland, Norway, were given medical check-ups in 1988 and 1990, and a postal questionnaire in 1993.

Results: Only 37% were employed five years after the first spell of long-term unemployment. Recovery after re-employment was demonstrated, indicating that unemployment causes poor mental health. Health-related selection to continuous unemployment was only found for medical diagnoses. The unemployed who might be selected to continuous unemployment because of poor health at the two-year follow-up seemed to deteriorate most.

Conclusion: The high morbidity of mental health problems among unemployed people is mostly explained by the causal hypothesis. This is a challenge to preventive medicine. Sick unemployed people should be given special attention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Employment
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Middle Aged
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Odds Ratio
  • Psychometrics
  • Regression Analysis
  • Social Class
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Unemployment* / psychology