Being jobless is worse than you think. It not only results in loss of income source, but may also increase the risk of premature death, warns a new study.
According to sociologists at McGill University in Montreal, Canada being unemployed increases the likelihood of early death by an average of 63 percent.
The researchers, led by Professor Eran Shor, reached this conclusion after analyzing existing research on 20 million people in 15 countries over the past 40 years, and accounting for factors like age, sex, income, socio-economic, and health status.
"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.”--Professor Eran Shor
Pre-existing heath conditions have no effect
The link between unemployment and high risk of premature death was found in all countries studied.
Despite the presence of financed health and social services in the countries, the risk of high mortality rate was same as other countries that lacked these services.
It was found that pre-existing health conditions like diabetes and heart problems or behaviors like smoking, drinking or drug use had no effect on death.
This suggests that there is a causal relationship between unemployment and high risk of premature death.
"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,” stated Shor.
Men at greater risk
Researchers added that being jobless is more stressful for men than women.
For women, being unemployed increased the risk of early death by 37 percent and for men the rate was 78 percent.
Explaining the reason, 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.”
Heart screening, stress management programs for jobless
Researchers have stressed that these findings are important as in many countries the unemployment rate is hovering around 10 percent.
Considering the high risk involved, they recommend cardiovascular screening and stress management programs for those who are unemployed.
“Until more is known about the mechanisms by which this association occurs, more proactive primary prevention screening and interventions among the unemployed are needed,” researchers concluded.
The study has been published in the journal 'Social Science & Medicine.'