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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Can A Job Loss Kill You?

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At Closing Plant, Ordeal Included Heart Attacks 


The first to have a heart attack was George Kull Jr., 56, a millwright who worked for three decades at the steel mills in Lackawanna, N.Y. Three weeks after learning that his plant was closing, he suddenly collapsed at home.

Less than two hours later, he was pronounced dead.

A few weeks after that, a co-worker, Bob Smith, 42, a forklift operator with four young children, started having chest pains. He learned at the doctor’s office that he was having a heart attack. Surgeons inserted three stents, saving his life.

Less than a month later, Don Turner, 55, a crane operator who had started at the mills as a teenager, was found by his wife, Darlene, slumped on a love seat, stricken by a fatal heart attack.

It is impossible to say exactly why these men, all in relatively good health, had heart attacks within weeks of one another. But interviews with friends and relatives of Mr. Kull and Mr. Turner, and with Mr. Smith, suggest that the trauma of losing their jobs might have played a role.

“He was really, really worried,” George Kull III said of his father. “With his age, he didn’t know where he would get another job, or if he would get another job.”

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A growing body of research suggests that layoffs can have profound health consequences. One 2006 study by a group of epidemiologists at Yale found that layoffs more than doubled the risk of heart attack and stroke among older workers. Another paper, published last year by Kate W. Strully, a sociology professor at the State University of New York at Albany, found that a person who lost a job had an 83 percent greater chance of developing a stress-related health problem, like diabetes, arthritis or psychiatric issues.

In perhaps the most sobering finding, a study published last year found that layoffs can affect life expectancy. The paper, by Till von Wachter, a Columbia University economist, and Daniel G. Sullivan, director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, examined death records and earnings data in Pennsylvania during the recession of the early 1980s and concluded that death rates among high-seniority male workers jumped by 50 percent to 100 percent in the year after a job loss, depending on the worker’s age. Even 20 years later, deaths were 10 percent to 15 percent higher. That meant a worker who lost his job at age 40 had his life expectancy cut by a year to a year and half.

Additional investigation is still needed to understand the exact connection between job loss and poor health, according to scientists. The focus is mostly on the direct and indirect effects of stress. Acute stress can cause biochemical changes that trigger heart attacks, for example. Job loss and chronic stress can also lead to lifestyle changes that damage health.

Studies have, for instance, tied job loss to increased smoking and greater chances of former smokers relapsing. Some laid-off workers might start drinking more or exercising less. Increased prevalence of depression has been tied to both job loss and the development of heart disease. 

Read the full article at the The New York Times

Related Lifestyle Article:For Ways to cope with Stress you might want to read this article 

26 Post a Comment :

Anonymous said...

I have experience in two different lay-offs where I developed dental problems each time. A chipped tooth,a broken tooth and gum problems, in spite of diligent flossing and brushing. I have read that the same bacteria that causes gingivitis (gum disease)also causes heart attacks. I have also read that stress may be related to cancer. I was hoping this article might explore some solutions or techniques to reduce or deal with stress. Would be interested to see more fact and some solutions - will there be a follow up to this with a little more science and some helpful approaches?

Anonymous said...

Follow Yoga

Nothing cures stress as effective as Yoga.
You are right about mental health affecting weeker body parts.
As a first step check with Dentist

Anonymous said...

It is so sad to hear of deaths like these. the question I hear is, "Can they be prevented?" I am not a doctor. I could say simply, "When it is your time to go, nothing will stop it."
But, I would like to take a different approach. From how we are trained to think, our bodies will react to outside influences. Example: you are driving down the road and someone pulls in front of you, you flip the bird and start yelling at them. OR, you just back off and say what a bad driver and you continue on as nothing happened.
The same can happen with ANY situation which it causes your brain to react.
Possible solution: Learn the technique of training your subconscious reaction. Both of the descriptions of the driver are trained subconscious reactions. SO, I suggest you train your brain in advance for the good , bad, and ugly of life which may enter your life. I must add, not easy for everyone to do. The method is found in a book, "It's Only Earth" by John Cox

tom said...

It is unbelievable that job loss can really affect the health.

I am very surprise at reading this but when recurring back to myself, it seems to be true.

Hope we can have a good and correct survey on this. Is this big enough as a typical sample?


Anonymous said...

I was raised to believe that few things were more important than a job. My dad and brothers were all loyal workers, never took days off, and gave 100 percent while on the job. I learned that lesson too well. As I got older and lost some jobs due to politics, my health suffered greatly. It was as if one of my children or parents "divorced" me. Over time I convinced myself, albeit slowly and with difficulty, that I am not my job. I offer a great deal to employers and will continue to give 100% on the job. But I no longer give my "soul" to my work. We live in a different age. As workers, we are commodities. Nothing more. Loyalty is a condition of a bygone era. To anyone facing a layoff or dismissal, I feel for you. But the sooner you realize that it's out of your hands, the healthier you will be.

Anonymous said...

13 years with a company I cared about / Trusted the owners / Always did what was in the best interest of the company. Arrived at work 3 weeks ago and was unexpectedly laid off in the parking lot. Devastated, never given any prior notice that there was a problem. Never late for work, never took time off, always gave our customers the best service I was capable of. In the end all that mattered was money - my loyalty meant nothing. I have been suffering major depressive episodes for the last several weeks, I'm 47, I'm a mess thinking about what the future may hold. This has been one of the worst periods in my life, I am convinced that hard work, dedication, commitment and loyalty to a company mean nothing in these times. To everyone out there who has lost their job by no fault of their own, I feel your upset and pain... I pray we all make it through this.

Anonymous said...

Its a fact and truth that you are fired!!! no matter what ever happens its not going to change. What matters is what you are going to do after that.

follow the steps bellow you feel better:

Step 1: Go for a short vocation or take a break and relax. This will not solve your issues,but it will help to forget what just happen to you for a short while.
step 2: Go to your loved once and spend some time. You will know that what u lost is nothing compared to the one you have.
step 3: Plan and prepare for your job search.

Believe in yourself. you will find a better job than the last one.

Believe me its going to work...
I tried the same and got a better job every time.
Interesting thing is "every new job comes up with salary 3 time better than the last."

You will loose the race only when you accept the failure... so guys cheer up.

Anonymous said...

100% percent Brainwashed.
We all are going to get older if time allows us to.
We need to stop letting our jobs be our lives and live our life because we have a job. If that makes since. None of those Men had to die like that. We are so caught up in age/race/gender here in USA.
Just live your life. If you lose your job (I did 5 times,through no fault of my own), pick up your boot straps and move on to the for you. Someone somewhere will eventually hire you.
Don't let AGE be an issue.

Good Luck! ALL

Anonymous said...

Recent studies confirm broken heart syndrome is real.
You work for years, have values, have dedication and lose a job. It is like a break up no counseling, no outreach it is like you didn't exist.
It is a tough marketplace you can lose your self esteem deal with real
issues like how can I pay the bills,
blaming oneself, self esteem and a questioning oneself.
Stress can lead to illness what isn't mentioned is people who take it farther and take their own lives.
As much as companies can say life balance few really live by it

best tooth brush review said...

Excellent article.Its really a good article. It gives me lots of pleasure and interest. It’s a most important post.

Anonymous said...

I can believe it can make you seriously ill. I am going through this at the moment. It is not the stress of not being paid by work, it is the severe financial hardship it is putting me through - no help or money to pay bills.

Peter Jetter said...

Mind has a MAJOR impact on physical health (eg. decades of proven placebo effect). There is sufficient scientific evidence to introduce the field of psycho-immunology. I lost my job currently and it seems to affect my immune system (increased frequency of symptoms related to weakened immune system). Studies support this correlation.

I agree, that many traditional virtues (loyalty, friendliness etc) have low priority compared to cost saving, when it comes to "restructuring". The reason in my experience is: risk avoidance. No one is willing to favor uncertain(intangible, hard to measure) benefits gained by good employees against certain (easy to measure) cost savings. Firing a good employee MAY have a negative bottom line effect, yet is CERTAINLY saves short term cost.

Anonymous said...

I was diagnosed with cancer 2 months after losing my job. It put things in perspective. 2 years later, after major operation and chemo therapy, I am at work again (lower salary but enough). You fight until you can fight no more.

Anonymous said...

I have learned the hard way our work cannot define us after a lay-off. The unavoidable stress is being alone, and even with pt-time work, not being able to meet financial obligations incurred with the previous salary (by the way, I live quite frugally.) Not enough money, threats of utilities being turned off and car reposession. No place else to cut. Single at 54 and trying to deal with a 2nd lay-off in 4 years. In the beginning the positive outlook helped. Fear of life on the street and no healthcare speed my heart rate and send the BP higher.

Anonymous said...

I have learned the hard way our work cannot define us after a lay-off. The unavoidable stress is being alone, and even with pt-time work, not being able to meet financial obligations incurred with the previous salary (by the way, I live quite frugally.) Not enough money, threats of utilities being turned off and car reposession. No place else to cut. Single at 54 and trying to deal with a 2nd lay-off in 4 years. In the beginning the positive outlook helped. Fear of life on the street and no healthcare speed my heart rate and send the BP higher.

Eric Benson said...

This article is a great reminder: Use the good times to prepare for the bad times. I know that "good" and "bad" are subjective, but use your own definition of each and roll with me for a minute... When times are good we should be strengthen our mental and physical abilities. Meditation and exercise are two broad approaches to doing so. Not only will these approaches serve us when things go bad, they will help make the good times better. So, calm down and lace up! Be the Happy-Being you were always meant to be and learn to live a life you love :-)

Anonymous said...

I too have experienced a company wide layoff recently due to a move of my group to a different city which management believed to be in the best interest of the company. I went rhrough a grief period where my health and self-esteem were affected. As soon as I realized that it was nothing I did and that what you stated above was true, I was able to let go and move on and my overall health improved. I started to focus on the things that were most important in my life. I will always have a job somewhere, but my family and friends will always be the most important things in my life. It was a wake-up call for me. Corporate America has changed its philosophy on employees and the 'family atmosphere'. The sooner we realize this, the better off we will be. Thanks for the insight.

Anonymous said...

Lost my active duty USAF career due to misinformation from the USAF regarding continuation options for me after nearly 15 years of service. Starting over at 40 in a job that pays half what I earned on active duty. Two children I never get to see because they live out of state and my new job involves rotating shift work.

I have no doubt that years will be taken off of my life due to financial stress, stress of not being able to be an active father, and rotating shifts. Remarriage seems impossible... since I am officially a "loser". Women aren't interested in men over 40 who have no stability in our schedule, and who support children from a past marriage.

It is unbelievable what is being done to those of us over 40. Career loss for us often means no hope of recovering a full life.

Tillamook Hotel said...

The solution is simple: hit the gym! When you land another interview, your prospective employers will want to see urgency and energy—and what better way to maintain it than breaking a sweat? It won’t take long to see results, both physical and mental: According to a recent study in the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, just 15 minutes of exercise can boost your feelings of happiness and pride.

Anonymous said...

Great comment! I had my meltdowns and times if deep depression. But taking the break you describe also made me realize what we all miss working on the treadmill. I discovered people I would not have met if I hadn't lost my job. It made me slow down and open my eyes at how lucky I was in family and friends. Planning your job search is the big one. Job searching today is much different than it was years ago. What an eye opener!

Anonymous said...

Great Article! I also learnt this the hard way.....I come from an emerging economy country where layoffs are unheard of and infact considered shameful in society. I moved to a developed country with a job offer early last year. I became so over confident that I went ahead and committed to buying a house based on my current income. Then came the shock of my laid off just before closing and had to forfeit my deposit.....went into severe depression and slowly emerging out of it.

Anonymous said...

I got layoff last week and I hope I find a better job soon
Cross fingers

C4LWXHPLS said...

I truly believe that stress causes more health problems than say smoking. People who have a family to take care of and who have been replace by cheap foreign labor feel used and abused and then have to deal with the stress of finding another job before they end up homeless. And, most jobs today are part time minimum wage jobs. Companies can't compete globally and make a profit so all they can do s reduce expenses to try and make themselves look profitable. Unfortunately, they are decimating the American middle class which is the economic engine to the world. Every country wants to sell in the American market but, if the middle class is destroyed, then sells will plummet and eventually, companies will fail. You see it in the news all the time. Radio Shack, JC Pennies, Sears and many more are closing stores. The only ones growing are grocery stores because people have to eat but, with the inflationary prices of food these days, these companies are headed for hard times as well as people start growing their own veggies and buying meat from meat markets in bulk. This country will not recover for many decades if, it can survive and the dollar doesn't collapse.

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SkillLevel0 said...

In 2009 I was laid off after working steady for 35 years (with 2 different companies). I was 57 and not able to retire financially. I was single and did not own a home so my responsibilities were only to myself. I think because of this and that my job never defined who I was it was a little easier than most folks. Part of the package we got was eight free sessions with a therapist so I made use of that. We had access for a year to a company that helped with the whole process of looking for a new job (resumes, interviewing, job searches, etc), I used that for the whole year. I already had a moderate exercise program and watch what I eat because of high blood pressure this helped also relieving the stress. Since I'm a recovering person I upped my meetings to a 12 step program. With the severance pay and unemployment insurance I was able to make my monthly budget. I was off a year and really enjoyed not working (lol). In 2010 I was able to get a contracting job with the company I originally worked for. My contract was not extended in October 2014 so I went back on unemployment. That ran out in April 2015. I'm now in semi-retirement mode (age 63). Still need to work a few more years but I have the option now of only needing to work part time. Again, I really like not working.
I believe that what really helped me the most was that my job never defined who I was.

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