Homemakers generally had health conditions comparable to employed women with the exception of cardiovascular disease, which was 1.7 times higher among the homemakers than among employed women. Nineteen percent of the homemakers had high blood pressure, identical to employed women, but about 4 percent reported they had cardiovascular disease.
"We weren't expecting differences in the employed women and the homemakers," Marshall-Williams said. "It may be that employed women have more access in the workplace to health intervention such as screening for high blood pressure and stress reduction programs. That may be one protective factor for employed women."
The findings differed significantly by race with homemaker and unemployment status having a more negative impact on African-American women's physical health. The odds of reporting cardiovascular disease for involuntarily unemployed African-American women was 2.6 times greater than that of employed African-American women.
The women also were asked about their general mental health, self-reporting their own sense of well-being and the number of good and bad days during the past month as a global measure.
Unemployed women also reported more poor mental health days than the employed women and homemakers. Women who had lost their jobs reported an average of nine poor mental health days in the past month. Employed women only reported four poor mental health days in the past 30 days. Homemakers reported five poor mental health days.
"Unemployed women had double the amount of poor mental health days as employed women, and clearly saying their mental health is suffering as a result of unemployment. Unemployed wom
Contact: Carole Bullock
American Heart Association