For these reason further insights into how society deals with unemployment is necessary. Stratification is a principal aspect of the evolution of a society's social identity, when this is compounded with unemployment, alienation and dysfunction becomes a consequence.
Until the late 1980s the unemployment rate in England remained low (about 5%). However, by late 1990 the unemployment rate began to increase and by the end of 1992 had climbed to 15%, reaching a peak in early 1994 of 19%. (Statistics England 1994) Unemployment also grew in other European countries, although not as rapidly as in England. In 1994, the average European Union unemployment rate was 12%. Long-term joblessness has become more common in England and redundancy now also affects the white-collar occupations. (Statistics England 1994) Research into the possible health effects of unemployment is thus more timely than ever.
Previous studies of individuals have shown that mortality rates are higher in the unemployed than the employed persons. (Moser 1984; Bethune 1996) The causal effect of unemployment and selection bias have been suggested as two possible mechanisms to explain this finding. (Valkonen 1995)
Becoming jobless and long-term unemployment may have adverse effect...
An increase in tobacco, alcohol, and drug use may also be indicative of attempts to cope with this stress. Other outcomes of unemployment such as loss of income, material deprivation, loss of networks, and social stigma may have independent effects on health and mortality but may also increase the stress experienced by the unemployed.
Selection bias is encountered when unemployed people or those who have difficulty in becoming re-employed have pre-existing ill-health. Selection bias may also be due to socio-economic factors such as social class and housing tenure; lifestyle risks like tobacco and alcohol consumption and poor diet or personal characteristics such as increased age, sex, physical weakness, and psychological dysfunction that increase the risk of premature mortality. Although the direct selection of people with pre-existing ill-health may not be of paramount importance, (Martikainen 1990; Morris 1994) lack of data about personal characteristics and lifestyle make it difficult to control for all possible selection factors.
Aggregate-level studies that use regional populations or occupational groups as their units of analysis, have generally not shown a relation between changes in unemployment and mortality rates. (Valkonen 1995; Martikainen 1955) These results suggest that selection may account for a large part of the excess mortality of unemployed persons.
The aim of this study was to estimate the strength of the association between unemployment, re-employment, and mortality during rapidly increasing unemployment in England. The results for the total British population of men and women are presented. As in previous individual-level studies, we sought to reduce the possible effects of selection by