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J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2000 May;55(3):S131-40.

Health effects of involuntary job loss among older workers: findings from the health and retirement survey.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520-8034, USA.



To estimate the health consequences of involuntary job loss among older workers in the United States.


Using longitudinal data from the 1992 and 1994 waves of the Health and Retirement Survey, multivariate regression models were estimated to assess the impact of involuntary job loss on both physical functioning and mental health. Our analysis sample included 209 workers who experienced involuntary job loss between survey dates and a comparison group of 2,907 continuously employed workers.


The effects of late-life involuntary job loss on both follow-up physical functioning and mental health were negative and statistically significant (p < .05), even after baseline health status and sociodemographic factors were controlled for. Among displaced workers, reemployment was positively associated with both follow-up physical functioning and mental health, whereas the duration of joblessness was not significantly associated with either outcome.


The findings provide evidence of a causal relationship between job loss and morbidity among older workers. This relationship is reflected in both poorer physical functioning and mental health for workers who experience involuntary job loss. In addition to the economic consequences of worker displacement, there may be important health consequences of job loss, especially among older workers.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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