Unemployment Effects - Unemployment Health

Table of contents:

Unemployment Effects - Unemployment Health
Unemployment Effects - Unemployment Health

Unemployment: Health Effects

Unemployment is perceived differently by those affected. Depending on the cause, it can sometimes be perceived as a relief at the beginning. Some of those affected approach the current phase of life and the job search with great motivation and vigor. But after a period of unemployment, the mood can change and have negative effects on health.


  • Continue reading
  • more on the subject
  • Advice, downloads & tools
  • How can unemployment affect health?
  • What can everyone do themselves when they are unemployed?
  • "Fit2work" - help for the unemployed

As early as the 1930s, the well-known Austrian study “The unemployed from Marienthal” examined the effects of unemployment on behavior and psychological well-being. At that time, after the closure of a textile factory, almost the entire town of Marienthal (Lower Austria) was without work. The majority felt resignation, apathy or despair. Few of those affected were able to think positively.

How can unemployment affect health?

Much research shows that unemployment can worsen both mental and physical health. Unemployment and health are closely interrelated. On the one hand, unemployment occurs more easily with impaired health; on the other hand, unemployment has a negative impact on health. People with chronic illnesses are less likely to be employed, have a higher risk of becoming unemployed and a lower chance of being re-employed. The duration of unemployment seems to be essential for the effect on the state of health: the longer unemployment lasts, the more likely it is that health problems arise. There is also a negative reinforcementthat preventive health behavior such as exercise and a healthy diet are often neglected when unemployed. Sometimes alcohol and nicotine consumption increases.

Mental health effects

Even the first personal confrontation with unemployment can be psychologically stressful. The new and uncomfortable situation can lead to excessive demands and stress. The loss of the job can go hand in hand with the loss or restriction of social contacts, the usual daily structure, meaningful activities, financial security and recognition. The longer unemployment lasts, the more often negative psychological effects on health can appear. The following symptoms can occur, among others:

  • Malaise,
  • psychosomatic complaints (e.g. headache and back pain, difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep),
  • Depression,
  • Dissatisfaction with life,
  • Decrease in self-esteem,
  • Fear as well
  • Depression.

Physical Health Effects

The possible physical effects of unemployment include:

  • Increase in body weight,
  • Increase in blood pressure,
  • Increase in cholesterol,
  • Transition of already existing diseases into a chronic state,
  • Cardiovascular diseases,
  • States of exhaustion as well
  • general weakening of the immune system and thus increased susceptibility to infection.

What can everyone do themselves when they are unemployed?

The following tips can help you feel good and get back to work quickly:

  • Believe in yourself: those who confidently enter an interview improve their chances of making a good impression and of being hired again quickly.
  • Create structure: Give your day structure and a fixed schedule.
  • Stay active, do sports and take care of yourself.
  • Further training and voluntary work: The period of unemployment can also be used for further training and social engagement.
  • Keeping in touch, not withdrawing and of course
  • Looking for a job, writing applications and thinking positively.

"Fit2work" - help for the unemployed

Many health promotion and prevention programs are specifically dedicated to the issue of unemployment and health or job jeopardy due to impaired health. The nationwide available program "fit2work" offers significant assistance.

"Fit2work" is a free service for people whose job is at risk due to health problems or who have difficulties to find a job as a result. With the support of “fit2work”, disability and the associated premature retirement from professional life are to be prevented. In this way, the consequences of unemployment such as psychosocial problems, indebtedness, family crises, etc. can be avoided. The advisors work closely with the social security, social ministry service and AMS in coordination with those seeking advice. Case managements are also offered - all voluntary, confidential and free of charge. "Fit2work" is an initiative of the Austrian federal government,it is offered nationwide by regional implementation partners and runs in cooperation with many partner organizations.

Further information is available from:

  • Financial Problems & Health
  • fit2work
  • BMAFJ: Work and Health