Source: The Mercury, 30 April, 1994, p.13
London. Middle-aged men who lost their jobs or took early retirement were twice as likely to die in the five years after they finished work than those who remain- ed employed, according to researchers. The study was carried out by Dr. Derek Cook and col- leagues from London's Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine and St. George's Hospital Medical School. They examined data collect- ed from general practices in 24 British towns, which involved 6191 men aged 40 to 59. All the men had been contin- uously employed for at least five years before an initial screening, and they were then followed up five years later. Of the 6191 men, 1779 were found to have had some employ- ment or retired in that time, while 4412 remained continu- ously employed. "We found that stably employed middle-aged men who experienc- ed loss of employment (un- employment or retirement) were twice as likely to die as con- tinuously employed men in a 5.5 year follow-up", the re- searchers wrote in this week's British Medical Journal. "Even men who lost employment for reasons unrelated to health were at raised risk of dying after adjustment for factors such as smoking, drinking, and social class." The increased risk of dying from cancer was similar to that for heart disease. "The raised mortality among men who retired for reasons other than illness, particularly in the years close to their retirement, emphasises the need to consider the impact of high levels of un- employment on all members of society when they stop working, not just those who are classified as un- employed," they said. AAP
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