Research Article

Hospital admissions before and after shipyard closure.

BMJ 1989; 299 doi: (Published 28 October 1989) Cite this as: BMJ 1989;299:1073
  1. L. Iversen,
  2. S. Sabroe,
  3. M. T. Damsgaard
  1. Institute of Social Medicine, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.


    To determine the effect of job loss on health an investigation was made of admissions to hospitals in 887 men five years before and three years after the closure of a Danish shipyard. The control group comprised 441 men from another shipyard. The information on hospital admissions was obtained from the Danish national register of patients. The relative risk of admission in the control group dropped significantly in terms of the number of men admitted from the study group from 1.29 four to five years before closure to 0.74 in the three years after closure. This was especially true of admissions due to accidents (1.33 to 0.46) and diseases of the digestive system (4.53 to 1.03). For diseases of the circulatory system, particularly cardiovascular diseases, the relative risk increased from 0.8 to 1.60, and from 1.0 to 2.6 respectively. These changes in risk of illness after redundancy are probably a consequence of a change from the effects of a high risk work environment to the effects of psychosocial stresses such as job insecurity and unemployment.