Losing a job can lead not just to financial hardships but could also increase the risk of developing health problems such as high blood pressure and heart attacks, says a new study.
Even when people find a new job, there is a raised risk of developing a new health problem as a result of the job loss, the study published in the May 8 issue of Demography claimed.
"In today's economy, job loss can happen to anybody," said Kate Strully, who conducted the research as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society scholar at the Harvard School of Public Health.
"We need to be aware of the health consequences of losing our jobs and do what we can to alleviate the negative effects," the expert added.
In the study, Strully found that "job churning," defined as high rates of job loss but low unemployment, has negative health consequences for workers who were not already sick.
For those who lost their job-white or blue collar-through no fault of their own, such as an establishment closure, the odds of reporting fair or poor health increased by 54 percent, and among respondents with no pre-existing health conditions, it increased the odds of a new health condition by 83 percent.
Even when workers became re-employed, those workers had an increased risk of new stress-related health conditions, the study found.
Unlike the results of job loss due to an establishment closure, when health effects were analyzed based on workers who were fired or laid off, significant differences were found based on the workers' occupations. While being fired or laid off or leaving a job voluntarily more than doubles the odds of a fair or poor health report among blue-collar workers, such job displacements have no significant association with the health reports of white-collar workers.
The reasons for this disparity are unclear based on the study results.
The study was conducted based on data from the U.S. Panel Study of Income Dynamics, a nationally representative survey from 1999, 2001 and 2003. The study looked at establishment closures that included a range of occupations, including managerial or professional positions (30 percent displacement), sales, clerical, and craft jobs, (33 percent displacement), a machine operator jobs (20 percent displacement), and service positions (13 percent displacement).