Unemployment and longevity: The distribution of misery

Posted: June 5, 2013 in economy
Tags: , ,

THE life-expectancy of America’s least-educated white women has declined, increasing the longevity gap between that group—white females without a high-school diploma—and their white, high-school-graduate sisters. According to a new study by Jennifer Karas Montez and Anna Zajacova published in the Journal of Health and Social Behaviour, the principal culprit for the decline is unemployment. Smoking had an effect, too, but hardly as dramatic as joblessness. As the New York Times reports:[R]esearchers were surprised that joblessness had a dramatic effect, even after controlling for factors that employment would have generated, like income and health insurance.“What is it about employment that has this huge impact on mortality, beyond the material resources it brings?” said Jennifer Karas Montez, the study’s lead author, a researcher at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies.[…]Ms. Montez said there was some evidence that having a job offered intangible benefits that could improve health, including a sense of purpose and control in life, as well as providing networks that help to reduce social isolation.One explanation is that high-school graduation rates have increased, in part because high school has become less challenging. Those who fail to finish today are therefore more likely than ever to have done so due in part to problems directly and indirectly …

via Economic Crisis http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2013/06/unemployment-and-longevity?fsrc=rss

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