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Stroke, heart attack and firing

Yale Medicine Magazine, 2007 - Winter


Losing a job just as retirement approaches more than doubles the chances of a heart attack or stroke, according to a Yale study published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine in June.

For over 10 years researchers observed more than 4,000 people who were between the ages of 51 and 61 when the study began in 1992. During that period 582 lost their jobs. An earlier six-year study of the same people had suggested a higher risk of stroke, but didn’t make a definitive link between job loss and heart attacks. “With longer follow-up ... on heart attack and stroke events we were able to better assess the association between employment separation and the medical outcomes,” said William T. Gallo, Ph.D., the lead author and an associate research scientist in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health.

“We do a lot of downsizing in our country and older individuals are often affected,” said co-author Elizabeth H. Bradley, M.B.A., Ph.D., professor of public health. “We need to recognize not only the economic consequences, but also the health consequences.”

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