Health and unemployment

Annu Rev Public Health. 1996:17:449-65. doi: 10.1146/annurev.pu.17.050196.002313.


This paper reviews the relationship between health and inadequate employment, especially unemployment. Poor physical or mental health can lead, via poor work performance, to job loss; however, studies that control for such selection effects are still scarce except for a few health outcomes. For example, aggregate-level studies typically find a positive association between unemployment and suicide rates over time. At the individual level of analysis, panel surveys of laid-off workers tend to find increased psychiatric problems such as depression and substance abuse. Few studies have evaluated interventions to prevent or reduce the adverse health effects of job loss. There have been even fewer studies of the health effects of other types of inadequate employment such as the increasingly prevalent forms of underemployment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mental Disorders / prevention & control
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Mental Health*
  • Research Design
  • Risk Factors
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data
  • Unemployment* / psychology
  • Unemployment* / statistics & numerical data
  • United States / epidemiology