Unemployment, employment precarity, and inflammation

Publication type

Journal Article

Published in

Brain, Behavior, and Immunity


Rachel C. Sumner, Rachel Bennett, Ann-Marie Creaven and Stephen Gallagher

Publication date


Unemployment has been associated with poorer health, but few studies have examined the biological mechanisms that confer these health decrements. Further, no studies to date have examined differences across employment groups to consider whether employment (in whatever means) is preferential in terms of health. The present study utilised secondary data from Understanding Society: The Household Longitudinal Survey during the aftermath of the recent global recession. Two markers of peripheral inflammation: C-reactive protein (CRP) and fibrinogen were assessed across employment groups (unemployed; permanent, temporary, and self-employed), controlling for individual, socio-demographic and health variables to give greater context to our understanding of how employment status influences health. After controlling for relevant confounds, unemployment was associated with higher levels of fibrinogen but not CRP. Subsequent analyses of employment subgroup revealed the temporary employed have similar levels of fibrinogen to the unemployed, and may therefore be at a similar health disadvantage. The findings confirm that unemployment is associated with increases in one marker of peripheral inflammation, but that this health protection is not conferred to those in precarious employment.






Labour Market, Unemployment, Health and Biology



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