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Elevated inflammatory biomarkers during unemployment: Modification by age and country in the UK

Hughes, A and McMunn, A and Bartley, M and Kumari, M (2015) 'Elevated inflammatory biomarkers during unemployment: Modification by age and country in the UK.' Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 69 (7). 673 - 679. ISSN 0143-005X

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Background: There is raised risk of mortality following unemployment, and reviews have consistently found worse psychological health among the unemployed. Inflammation is increasingly implicated as a mediating factor relating stress to physical disease and is strongly linked to depression. Inflammation may, therefore, be implicated in processes associated with excess mortality and morbidity during unemployment. This study examined associations of unemployment with inflammatory markers among working-age men and women from England and Scotland. Methods: Cross-sectional analyses using data from the Health Survey for England and the Scottish Health Survey collected between 1998 and 2010. Systemic inflammation was indexed by serum concentrations of C reactive protein (CRP) and fibrinogen, and compared between participants currently employed/self-employed, currently unemployed and other groups. Results: CRP, fibrinogen and odds of CRP >3 mg/L were all significantly raised for the unemployed, as compared to the employed participants (eg, OR for CRP >3 mg/L=1.43, CI 1.15 to 1.78 N=23 025), following adjustment for age, gender, occupational social class, housing tenure, smoking, alcohol consumption, body mass index, long-term illness and depressive/anxiety symptoms. Strengths of associations varied considerably by both age and country/region, with effects mainly driven by participants aged ≥48 and participants from Scotland, which had comparatively high unemployment during this time. Conclusions: Current unemployment is associated with elevated inflammatory markers using data from two large-scale, nationally representative UK studies. Effect modification by age suggests inflammation may be particularly involved in processes leading to ill-health among the older unemployed. Country/regional effects may suggest the relationship of unemployment with inflammation is strongly influenced by contextual factors, and/or reflect life course accumulation processes.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Institute for Social and Economic Research
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2015 19:11
Last Modified: 23 Jan 2019 01:15

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