Research has shown that recessions are associated with lower cardiovascular mortality, but unemployed individuals have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) or death. We used data from 8 consecutive examinations (1985-2011) of the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) cohort,modeled in fixed-effect panel regressions, to investigate simultaneously the associations of CVD risk factors with the employment status of individuals and themacroeconomic conditions prevalent in the state where the individual lives.We found that unemployed individuals had lower levels of blood pressure, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and physical activity, and they had significantly higher depression scores, but they were similar to their counterparts in smoking status, alcohol consumption, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, body mass index, and waist circumference. A 1-percentage-point higher unemployment rate at the state level was associated with lower systolic (-0.41 mmHg, 95% CI: -0.65, -0.17) and diastolic (-0.19, 95% CI: -0.39, 0.01) blood pressure, higher physical activity levels, higher depressive symptom scores, lower waist circumference, and less smoking.We conclude that levels of CVD risk factors tend to improve during recessions, but mental health tends to deteriorate. Unemployed individuals are significantly more depressed, and they likely have lower levels of physical activity and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors are listed in alphabetical order, except the first three. The CARDIA study is supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (contracts HHSN268201300025C, HHSN268201300026C, HHSN268201300027C, HHSN268201300028C, HHSN268201300029C, and HHSN268200900041C), the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute on Aging, and an intra-agency agreement between the National Institute on Aging and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (agreement AG0005). Conflict of interest: none declared.
- blood pressure
- cardiovascular risk factors