Mortality following unemployment in Canada, 1991-2001

Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Dr. Cameron Mustard
Institute for Work & Health

This presentation will describe the association between unemployment and cause-specific mortality for a cohort of working-age Canadians. The cohort is based on the census mortality follow-up study, a representative 15 per cent sample of the non-institutionalized population of Canada aged 30-69 at cohort inception in 1991 who were followed for 11 years (888,000 men and 711,600 women who were occupationally active). Hazard ratios for risk of death for the unemployed compared to the employed were estimated from cox proportional hazard models, for six causes of death. Hazard ratios were estimated for two consecutive five year periods and across four age groups.

Consistent with results reported from other long-duration cohort studies, unemployed men and women in this cohort had an elevated risk of mortality for conditions associated with both traumatic causes and causes attributed to chronic disease. The persistency of an elevated mortality risk over two consecutive five-year periods suggests that the exposure to unemployment in 1991 may mark persons at risk of cumulative socioeconomic hardship.