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Journal Article

Poor health, employment transitions and gender: evidence from the British Household Panel Survey


Publication date

Aug 2013


We examined health selection in the context of transitions across employment statuses (employment, unemployment and inactivity), with attention to gender differences.
60,536 transitions from 7,901 individuals were pooled from 17 waves of the British Household Panel Survey. Associations between self-rated health and transitions across employment statuses were examined using multilevel multinomial analysis.
Health selective employment transitions between year t-1 and t were observed at entry to as well as exit from employment. Associations for poor health with the transitions were similar for men and women in transitions from employment to both unemployment and to inactivity, but with some differences in other transitions. When leaving employment, transitions from employment to unemployment (ORadjusted(adjusted odds ratio) = 1.51, 95 % CI = 1.21–1.89 for men and ORadjusted = 1.60, 95 % CI = 1.25–2.04 for women) and to inactivity (ORadjusted = 1.58, 95 % CI = 1.21–1.89 for men and ORadjusted = 1.63, 95 % CI = 1.35–1.96 for women) were affected by health status among both men and women. Similarly, poor health lowered the probability of transitions to employment from unemployment and inactivity; however, the negative impact of poor health was statistically significant only for women.
There is a strong relationship between health and transitions both into and out of employment suggesting an independent role for poor health, and these associations were similar for men and women.

Published in

International Journal of Public Health

Volume and page numbers

58 , 537 -546





Not held in Research Library - bibliographic reference only


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