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ISRN Public Health
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 483432, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.5402/2012/483432
Research Article

The Impact of Unemployment on Mental and Physical Health, Access to Health Care and Health Risk Behaviors

1School of Community Health Sciences and The Lincy Institute, University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), P.O. Box 453064, Las Vegas, NV, USA
2School of Community Health Sciences, University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), P.O. Box 453064, Las Vegas, NV, USA

Received 29 August 2011; Accepted 18 October 2011

Academic Editors: E. A. Al-Faris, M. F. Allam, and P. Bendtsen

Copyright © 2012 Jennifer R. Pharr et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of employment status and unemployment duration on perceived health, access to health care, and health risk behaviors. Data from Nevada's 2009 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) were analyzed. We compared participants who were unemployed (greater than and less than one year) to those who were employed and those who were voluntarily out of the labor force (OLF). Unemployed participants had significantly worse perceived mental health profiles, were more likely to delay health care services due to cost, and were less likely to have access to health care than employed participants and OLF participants. OLF participants were not significantly different from employed participants. Contrary to previous findings, unemployed participants in this study were not more likely to binge drink, smoke, or be physically inactive. Findings from this study suggest that the impetus for unemployment, be it voluntary or involuntary, may significantly impact a person's mental health.