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The impact of unemployment on school leavers' perception of health. Mediating effect of financial situation and social contacts?

International Journal of Public Health

Unemployment, Adult, Age Factors, Attitude to Health, Data Interpretation, Statistical, Education, Female, Adolescent, Health Status Indicators, Humans, Male, Mental Health, Slovakia, Socioeconomic Factors, Time Factors

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      The main purpose of this paper is to explore whether unemployment influences adolescents' subjective perception of health and whether perceived financial stress and social contacts can mediate the effect of employment status on health. We are also interested in the differences in financial situation and social contacts between unemployed secondary school leavers and their employed and studying counterparts. Data were obtained from 844 adolescents (mean age 19.6) from Slovakia. The effect of unemployment on several health indicators was measured and subsequently controlled for perceived financial strain of respondents and their social contacts. The results showed highest financial strain among unemployed, whereas only small differences in social contacts were found between three groups. Negative influence of unemployment on perceived health of respondents was confirmed. Nevertheless, strong influence was found only on long-term well-being and mental health. Financial situation and social contacts contributed to the prediction of almost all health outcomes, and to some extent mediated the effect of unemployment. Although unemployment was found to have a negative impact on health of adolescents, sufficiency of social contacts and good financial situation seem to decrease this effect and protect the health of unemployed people.

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