AIMS: Research often fails to ascertain whether men and women are equally hit by the health consequences of unemployment. The aim of this study was to analyze whether men's self-reported health and health behavior were hit more by unemployment than women's in a follow-up of the Northern Swedish Cohort.
METHODS: A follow-up study of a cohort of all school leavers in a middle-sized industrial town in northern Sweden was performed from age 16 to age 42. Of those still alive of the original cohort, 94% (n = 1,006) participated during the whole period. A sample was made of participants in the labor force and living in Sweden (n = 916). Register data were used to assess the length of unemployment from age 40 to 42, while questionnaire data were used for the other variables.
RESULTS: In multivariate logistic regression analyses significant relations between unemployment and mental health/smoking were found among both women and men, even after control for unemployment at the time of the investigation and indicators of health-related selection. Significant relations between unemployment and alcohol consumption were found among women, while few visits to a dentist was significant among men.
CONCLUSIONS: Men are not hit more by the health consequences of unemployment in a Swedish context, with a high participation rate of women in the labor market. The public health relevance is that the study indicates the need to take gendered contexts into account in public health research.