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Invited Commentary
Dec 10/24, 2012

Evolution of Research on the Effect of Unemployment on Acute Myocardial Infarction Risk: Comment on “The Cumulative Effect of Unemployment on Risks for Acute Myocardial Infarction”

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Departments of Health Policy and Management and Economics, City University of New York, New York.

Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(22):1737-1738. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.1835

Dupre and colleagues1 have analyzed data from the Health and Retirement Study to explore whether job losses that occur toward the end of workers' careers are associated with an elevated risk for acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and whether repeated exposure to job loss exacerbates this risk. Several decades of research in this field, provoked by a phenomenon introduced to the US labor market with the advent of international competition in capital-intensive industries in the late 1970s, have demonstrated a fairly convincing relationship between job loss and adverse health.2 Although the most robust association is arguably with mental health, evidence of the somatic effects of job loss is mounting, particularly among workers nearing normal retirement age. The findings presented by Dupre et al—which suggest that job loss raises the risk for AMI, and that risk accumulates with repeated exposure—extend this literature in the domain of physical health.

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