I read with great interest the viewpoint by P.J. Ni,cholson: 'Unempioyment is an occupationai hazard' (Occup M~d 1994; 44: 7-8), and I strongiy agree with its main construct, that occupational health practitioners have to cope with unemployment-related probiems. W e have previously reported that workers who feel threatened by redundancy show a statistically significant increase of both systolic and diastoli c blood pressure in compuisory heaith examinations 1• The Ievei of wellbeing of the workers (as measured by the generai health questionnaire2) is reduced, on average, when companies change the management or reiocate (unpubiished data). In Itaiy, the guaranteed wage fund ('cassa integrazione guadagni') in most cases prevents redundancy being associated with poverty; however, the physicai and psychological condition of unemployed people is deteriorating in Italy too, so showing that unemployment p ... ,. sr! is an health hazard. After a long period of withdrawal from work, workers show Iow leveis of well-being and a high prevalence of psycho-somatic disorders1• At resumption of work, long-term unemployed people appear to be different from · other workers with regard to some bipoiar source trait personaiity factors, as measured by the 16PF Inventory3: they are more submissive, meek and conservative, less independent, less imaginative and enthusiastic, and have lower self-esteem than controls4 • They show higher levels of anxiety and depression, and a higher frequency of com.plaints than other workers4 • In my opinion, occupational heaith practitioners must assume an important roie not only in pre-redundancy programmes, · but aiso in programmes for workers w ho resume work after a long period of unempioyment. lt is in the company's interest to take steps to ensure that employee efficiency is not affected by unemploymentrelated problems.
- UNEMPLOYMENT, HEALTH, OCCUPATIONAL HAZARD