Health plays a crucial role in California labor market, according to UCSF researchers

People who lose jobs often experience a worsening of health by the following year and those with poor health are more likely to lose jobs by the next year, according to results of the second California Work and Health Survey (CWHS) led by UCSF researchers.

"This finding is important because there has been a debate whether health is a cause or consequence of employment problems," said Edward Yelin, PhD, professor of medicine and health policy in the UCSF Institute for Health Policy Studies. "This study shows that it is in fact both."

People who reported health problems in the first year of the survey (1998) were more than twice as likely to lose their jobs in the following year as those who did not report such problems. In addition, those who lost jobs in the12 months prior to the 1998 survey were twice as likely to experience worsened health and onset of disability than those who did not lose their jobs, according to researchers.

The California Work and Health Survey, led by Yelin and co-principal investigator, Laura Trupin, MPH, senior research associate in the UCSF Institute for Health Policy Studies, examines the health impacts of changes in the economy and examines how well people with health problems do economically.

Researchers found that loss of a job, being continuously out of work and experiencing economic deprivation all result in a worsening of health over a one year period. There was no evidence, said researchers, that working long hours, having more than one job, doing physically demanding work, having a short tenure on the job or being in a temporary position, results in a worsening of health or the onset of disability over a one-year period.

The 1999 survey, administered to 2,044 Californians (18 years of age and older), included 913 adults who participated in the first survey in 1998.

Findings of the 1999 survey show that the labor market continues to be strong. More than 70 percent of working age adults are curre

Contact: Lordelyn P. del Rosario
University of California - San Francisco

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