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 behaviour were hit more by unemployment than women's in a follow-up of the Northern Swedish Cohort.
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 labour 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.
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.
Men are not hit more by the health consequences of unemployment in a Swedish context, with a high participation rate of women in the labour market. The public health relevance is that the study indicates the need to take gendered contexts into account in public health research.