Unemployment is associated with negative health outcomes, increasing the risk of limiting long-term illness, mental health problems and cardiovascular disease, as well as higher mortality rates (including from suicide). 4  The greatest impact is felt among those who experience long-term unemployment.

Unemployment affects health in three main ways, by: 5

  • creating financial problems (which affect living standards and can affect social integration and self-esteem)
  • increasing risk of distress, anxiety and depression (affecting the individual as well as their family)
  • impacting on health behaviours (unemployment is associated with increasing smoking and alcohol consumption and reduced physical activity).

As well as unemployment impacting on health, so poor health also increases the risk of someone becoming unemployed, which can create a cycle of ill health and worklessness.  People who are in poor health and those with caring responsibilities (who are vulnerable to long-term health problems of their own) are more likely to be economically inactive on average.  In addition, people in lower skilled jobs and/or with lower level qualifications are at increased risk of unemployment.  As such, worklessness can exacerbate social inequalities in health outcomes. 6

References

  1. Institute of Health Inequity, “Fair Society, Healthy Lives,” The Marmot Review, 2010.
  2. Institute of Health Inequity, “Fair Society, Healthy Lives,” The Marmot Review, 2010.
  3. Institute of Health Inequity, “Fair Society, Healthy Lives,” The Marmot Review, 2010.
  4. Institute of Health Inequity, “Fair Society, Healthy Lives,” The Marmot Review, 2010.
  5. Institute of Health Inequity, “Fair Society, Healthy Lives,” The Marmot Review, 2010.
  6. Institute of Health Inequity, “Fair Society, Healthy Lives,” The Marmot Review, 2010.