Unemployed men age faster than those in work, research finds

Previous studies show that unemployed people are at increased risk of early death

The Wellcome Trust-funded study found that men who had been unemployed for more than two of the preceding three years were more than twice as likely to have these genetic changes compared to men who were continuously employed.

The Wellcome Trust-funded study found that men who had been unemployed for more than two of the preceding three years were more than twice as likely to have these genetic changes compared to men who were continuously employed.

Thu, Nov 21, 2013, 01:01

Men who are unemployed age faster than those who are working, according to a research study from Britain and Finland. The genetic changes seen in men unemployed for more than two years are not repeated in women, however.

The ageing process was measured by assessing the men’s genetic material, with this genetic ageing accelerating for the long-term unemployed, according to the researchers from Imperial College, London and the University of Oulu in Finland. Having this sort of genetic ageing is linked to a higher risk of age-related diseases such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.


Earlier death
“We chose to look at unemployment because of the previous studies linking this stressful life experience to earlier death,” Dr Jessica Buxton of Imperial College said.

Previous studies had shown that unemployed people were at increased risk of early death but she said the research team was “surprised” to find that unemployment also had a detectable effect on the rate of cellular ageing, even after just three years. The study involved a group of 5,620 men and women born in Finland in 1966. Blood samples were collected from them in 1997 when they were all aged 31 years.

The Wellcome Trust-funded study found that men who had been unemployed for more than two of the preceding three years were more than twice as likely to have these genetic changes compared to men who were continuously employed.