Source: The Mercury, 30 April, 1994, p.13

Retirement may be
death sentence for

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 

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.

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