Background: Unemployment is associated with risk of future morbidity and premature mortality.
Purpose: To examine whether unemployment history predicts future C-reactive protein (CRP) levels in male participants in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study.
Methods: Unemployment, body mass index (BMI), and health behaviors were measured at 7, 10, and 15 years post-recruitment. CRP was measured at Years 7 and 15.
Results: Having a history of unemployment at Year 10 was associated with higher CRP at Year 15, independent of age, race, BMI, Year 7 CRP, Year 15 unemployment, and average income across Years 10-15. Poor health practices and depressive symptoms explained 22% of the association, but Year 10 unemployment history remained a significant predictor. Findings did not differ across age, race, education, or income.
Conclusions: Discrete episodes of unemployment may have long-term implications for future CRP levels.