Unemployed? Maybe You'll Live Longer...
On Monday, I blogged about the barriers older laid off workers faced when seeking new employment and how those barriers can result in involuntary early retirement. While being out of work obviously has its downside, apparently there is also an upside - a recent study indicates that an increase in unemployment rates is associated with a decrease in mortality.
According to the Globe and Mail, the findings of a study done by two professors at Wilfred Laurier University suggest a strong relationship between unemployment rates and mortality rates in Canadians. The researchers analyzed mortality rates and unemployment rates from 1977 to 2009 and found that a decreased mortality rate was associated with joblessness and this effect is most pronounced among the middle-aged.
This trend is seen not only in Canada. In the United States there is a significant amount of research which indicates that an increase in the jobless rate is associated with a drop in the mortality rate at the state level (although, American studies have found that the drop was most pronounced amongst infants and seniors while the Canadian study found the drop the greatest amongst the middle aged). A German study included similar findings.
In considering the reason for the relationship between unemployment and mortality, the Canadian study noted that, during a recession, people become less likely to engage in risky habits and more likely to adopt health-improving habits. Other studies have contained similar findings. For example, smoking, drinking, and alcoholic consumption decline during economic downturns, while physical health and average sleep time improves.