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Unemployment and inflammatory markers in England, Wales and Scotland, 1998–2012: Meta-analysis of results from 12 studies

Hughes, A and Kumari, M and McMunn, A and Bartley, M (2017) 'Unemployment and inflammatory markers in England, Wales and Scotland, 1998–2012: Meta-analysis of results from 12 studies.' Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 64. 91 - 102. ISSN 0889-1591

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© 2017 The Author(s) Introduction Unemployment represents for many affected individuals a substantial source of psychosocial stress, and is linked to both increased risk of morbidity and mortality and adverse health-related behaviours. Few studies have examined the association of unemployment with systemic inflammation, a plausible mediator of the associations of psychosocial stress and health, and results are mixed and context dependent. This study examines the association of unemployment with C-reactive protein (CRP) and fibrinogen, two markers of systemic inflammation. Methods A random-effects meta-analysis was performed using a multilevel modelling approach, including 12 national UK surveys of working-age participants in which CRP and fibrinogen were measured between 1998 and 2012 (N = 30,037 economically active participants). The moderating impact of participant age and UK country was explored. Results CRP and fibrinogen were elevated in unemployed compared to employed participants; jobseekers were also more likely (Odds Ratio: 1.39, p  & #x003C; 0.001) to have CRP levels corresponding to high cardiovascular risk ( & #x003E;3 mg/L), after adjustment for age, gender, education, long-term illness, smoking, and body mass index. Associations were not explained by mental health. Associations peaked in middle-age, and were stronger in Scotland and Wales than in England. Conclusions Our study demonstrates that systemic inflammation is associated with an important but little-studied aspect of the social environment, as it is elevated in unemployed compared to employed survey participants. Modifications suggest the association of unemployment a nd inflammation is substantially influenced by contextual factors, and may be especially strong in Wales, where further investigation of this relationship is needed.

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: 31 Mar 2017 15:18
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2018 19:15

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