Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Depression, and Alcohol Consumption During Joblessness and During Recessions in CARDIA Young Adults

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Quantitative Health Sciences

Publication Date


Document Type



Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms | Cardiovascular Diseases | Clinical Epidemiology | Epidemiology | Mental and Social Health


Research has shown that recessions are associated with lower cardiovascular mortality but unemployed individuals have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) or death. We used data from eight consecutive exams (1985-2011) of the CARDIA cohort, modeled in fixed-effect panel regressions, to investigate simultaneously the associations of CVD risk factors with (a) the employment status of individuals, and (b) macroeconomic conditions prevalent at the state where the individual lives. We found that unemployed individuals had lower levels of blood pressure, HDL-cholesterol, and physical activity, and significantly higher depression scores, but they were like their counterparts in smoking status, alcohol consumption, LDL cholesterol levels, body mass index, and waist circumference. One percentage point higher unemployment rate at the state level was associated with lower systolic (-0.41 mmHg, 95%CI: -0.65, -0.17) and diastolic (-0.19, 95%CI: -0.39, 0.01) blood pressure, higher physical activity levels, higher depressive symptom scores, and lower waist circumference and smoking. We conclude that levels of CVD risk factors tend to improve during recessions, but mental health tends to deteriorate. Unemployed individuals are significantly more depressed, and likely have lower levels of physical activity and HDL.


cardiovascular risk factors, blood pressure, recession, unemployment, physical activity, smoking, cardiovascular disease, alcohol, drinking, depressive disorders, cardia, waist circumference, young adult

DOI of Published Version



Am J Epidemiol. 2018 Jun 27. pii: 5046014. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwy127. [Epub ahead of print] Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

American journal of epidemiology

PubMed ID


Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed