Research Indicates Layoffs Affect Life Expectancy

Just about every laid-off person I know developed health problems - and the ones who don't have health insurance are even more terrified. (I had break

Just about every laid-off person I know developed health problems - and the ones who don't have health insurance are even more terrified. (I had breakfast today with an unemployed friend who has severe anxiety attacks and is turning agoraphobic.)

That's why I don't pay any attention to the "experts" who insist the Dems should have concentrated on jobs and not healthcare reform. It's both. Concentrating on one and not the other is like selling somebody one shoe:

A growing body of research suggests that layoffs can have profound health consequences. One 2006 study by a group of epidemiologists at Yale found that layoffs more than doubled the risk of heart attack and stroke among older workers. Another paper, published last year by Kate W. Strully, a sociology professor at the State University of New York at Albany, found that a person who lost a job had an 83 percent greater chance of developing a stress-related health problem, like diabetes, arthritis or psychiatric issues.

In perhaps the most sobering finding, a study published last year found that layoffs can affect life expectancy. The paper, by Till von Wachter, a Columbia University economist, and Daniel G. Sullivan, director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, examined death records and earnings data in Pennsylvania during the recession of the early 1980s and concluded that death rates among high-seniority male workers jumped by 50 percent to 100 percent in the year after a job loss, depending on the worker’s age. Even 20 years later, deaths were 10 percent to 15 percent higher. That meant a worker who lost his job at age 40 had his life expectancy cut by a year to a year and half.

Additional investigation is still needed to understand the exact connection between job loss and poor health, according to scientists. The focus is mostly on the direct and indirect effects of stress. Acute stress can cause biochemical changes that trigger heart attacks, for example. Job loss and chronic stress can also lead to lifestyle changes that damage health.

[...] “We’re just at the very beginning of studying pathways,” said William T. Gallo, a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Hunter College in New York. “We want to find out how we can intervene so we can lessen the effects of job loss, or eliminate them.”

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