Effects of unemployment on mental and physical health

Am J Public Health. 1985 May;75(5):502-6. doi: 10.2105/ajph.75.5.502.


From a prospective study of the impact of stress on health in 300 men assessed every six months, men who became unemployed after entering the study were compared with an equal number, matched for age and race, who continued to work. Psychological and health data after unemployment were compared between the two groups by multivariate analysis of variance and covariance. After unemployment, symptoms of somatization, depression, and anxiety were significantly greater in the unemployed than employed. Large standard deviations on self-esteem scores in the unemployed group suggested that some men coped better than others with job-loss stress. Further analysis showed those with higher esteem had more support from family and friends than did those with low self-esteem. Furthermore, unemployed men made significantly more visits to their physicians, took more medications, and spent more days in bed sick than did employed individuals even though the number of diagnoses in the two groups were similar.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Health Status*
  • Health*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Self Concept
  • Social Support
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Unemployment*