Methods: The present study utilizes a longitudinal multivariate design based on data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation 2001 Panel, testing the impact of one's employment status (based on the LUF) on a change in one's self-rated health status from 2002 to 2003. Demographics, social and economic status factors, as well as previous health status are controlled to prevent any spurious relationship from affecting the model.
Results: Findings partially support the main hypothesis that the degree of detachment from the labor market is associated with the change in the degree of general health status. The change in general health of each employment status group is compared with that of the adequately employed group. When controlling for other variables in the model, the unemployed group experiences the highest decline in general health. The involuntary part-time employed group experiences the second highest decline in their general health while controlling for other variables. Lastly, the poverty-wage employed group experiences the least decline in their general health while controlling for other variables. However, the changes in health status of the discouraged workers and overeducated workers are not statistically significantly different from that of the adequately employed.
Implication for policy: The results indicate that people who are fully and partially detached from the labor market are exposed to the risk of a significant decline in their general health over time. This result presents a significant policy implication since the majority of the unemployed and the part-time employed are exposed to a significant decline in their health without having any health insurance coverage that can prevent or help to treat their ill health when needed. These findings signify the urgent need for warranted attention from policy makers and health policy researchers.