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Book Chapter Insights 2016: findings from the largest longitudinal study of UK households Ch. 2: Health and employment

Changes in employment status: does poor health matter?



Michaela Benzeval, Ricky Kanabar, Nicole Martin, Victoria Nolan, and Raj Patel

Publication date

Nov 2016


People with poor health have lower levels of participation in paid employment and therefore are more at risk of poverty. However, the working patterns of people in poor health have been the subject of limited quantitative research. This study sets out to identify whether poor physical and/ or mental health influences the transition between different employment states. In general, understanding transitions between employment states matters as they can tell us what comes first – the poor health, or the employment state. This particular research looked at different measures of poor health to identify the largest contributory factor to employment transitions. This is important when considering policies, as it may suggest the type of health intervention to prioritise. This paper compared the influence of poor general health, poor physical health, poor mental health, both poor mental and physical health, and drug or alcohol problems. The categories of employment transitions are: movement into and out of employment, between full and part time work, and between permanent and temporary work. The findings apply to a range of wage levels and allow for a number of personal characteristics.


Labour Market, Unemployment, Poverty, Public Policy, Well Being, and Health



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