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November 11, 1968

Changes in Serum Uric Acid and Cholesterol Levels in Men Undergoing Job Loss

Author Affiliations

From the Survey Research Center of the Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

JAMA. 1968;206(7):1500-1507. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03150070038006

A longitudinal study was made of uric acid (UA) and cholesterol levels in married, stably employed men who lose their jobs because of a permanent plant shutdown. Some 200 men, including controls, were seen and followed up to two years. Major findings were as follows: (1) Anticipation of impending plant shutdown was associated with elevated UA but normal cholesterol levels. (2) Uric acid levels dropped sharply to normal if the men found quick reemployment; otherwise, they remained high till the men were on a new job before showing the same drop. (3) Cholesterol levels of men who became unemployed went up and showed a later drop when they found jobs. (4) Larger drops in UA between anticipation and reemployment were seen in men reporting more severe but brief stress. (5) Nurse ratings of depression related negatively to UA and positively to cholesterol. (6) Men who didn't wait for their job to be terminated but resigned early had stably high UA levels. (7) Temporal stability and intra-individual variability of UA and cholesterol levels were also studied.