-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, June 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Getting a pink slip
is never uplifting, but a new study suggests it's a bigger downer
for Americans than for Europeans.
The study of more than 38,000 people in the United States and 13
European countries found that Americans are prone to developing
depression if they become unemployed, compared to their European
The finding was especially strong if the job loss involved
workers at a plant that had been closed down. The study was
published online June 19 in the
International Journal of Epidemiology.
"In the U.S.A., the impact of job loss is significantly stronger for those with little or no wealth than for wealthier individuals, and the impact of job loss due to plant closure was stronger than in Europe," study leader Carlos Riumallo-Herl said in a journal news release.
He said that, by contrast, a person's level of wealth prior to
losing his or her job didn't seem to matter when it came to how
Europeans dealt with the emotional issues involved with
Riumallo-Herl and his team looked at data from surveys that were
conducted between 2004 and 2010. In addition to looking at U.S.
data, they tracked statistics from 13 European countries: Austria,
Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy,
The Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Overall, job loss was associated with a 4.8 percent increase in
depression among Americans, compared to a 3.4 percent rise among
Europeans. Among those who lost their jobs due to plant closure,
there was a 28.2 percent increase in depression among Americans,
and a 7.5 percent increase among Europeans, the study found.
The reasons behind the disparity in how Europeans and Americans
are affected by unemployment needs to be studied further, the
researchers said. One reason might be "social protection programs"
in European countries, which might be "buffering the impact of job
loss among less wealthy workers and their families," Riumallo-Herl
"Job loss is a profoundly disruptive experience," Lisa Berkman, a professor of public policy and of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, wrote in an accompanying journal commentary.
"As economies become more globalized and job transitions more common, the identification and implementation of policies that enable both societal as well as personal resilience will becomes increasingly important. This new piece of research points us in the right direction," she said.
The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more about
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