Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1993;19(3):168-174    pdf


Morbidity among unemployed and work-incapacitated men in The Netherlands.

by van der Horst F, Muris JW, Nijhuis FJ

As yet, the relationship between unemployment and physical health has not sufficiently been clarified. With a longitudinal approach a representative Dutch panel study and a study on a health center population were carried out. They involved work-incapacitated and unemployed men between 21 and 65 years of age. Men incapacitated for work were in poorer health than matched working men; the same was true in a three-year follow-up. Unemployed and working men were shown to be equally healthy. The physical health of the incapacitated men decreased with time but that of the unemployed men did not. This finding implies that unemployment per se does not lead to poorer health. Differences in social security systems seem to interfere with an international comparison of the consequences of unemployment on health. International research should distinguish more explicitly between those who are unemployed for economic reasons or incapacitated for work for medical reasons.