Toward a Better Estimation of the Effect of Job Loss on Health

This article investigated the relationship between involuntary job loss and health. The health outcomes of interest in the study were self-reported health and depressive symptoms. Analyses were adjusted for health status and other factors such as sociodemographic characteristics. Study participants were respondents from the large datasets of the Americans' Changing Lives Study (ACL) and the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (WLS).

Key Findings:

  • Baseline models indicated lower levels of self-reported health and more depressive symptoms for ACL and WLS respondents who reported involuntary job displacement.
  • The relationship between worse physical and mental health and involuntary job loss held even when sociodemographic and work factors were controlled in the analysis.
  • Involuntary job loss resulting from health reasons had a significantly more negative effect on self-reported health and depressive symptoms than job losses for other reasons.
  • Non-health related involuntary job loss had a larger effect on depressive symptoms and smaller, yet still significant, effect on self-reported health.