OBJECTIVES: The first objective of this study was to describe the age-specific prevalence of chronic diseases and multimorbidity among unemployed and employed persons. The second objective was to examine associations of employment status and sociodemographic characteristics with chronic diseases and multimorbidity. DESIGN: Data linkage of cross-sectional nationwide registries on employment status, medication use and sociodemographic characteristics in 2016 was applied. SETTING: Register-based data covering residents in the Netherlands. PARTICIPANTS: 5 074 227 persons aged 18-65 years were selected with information on employment status, medication use and sociodemographic characteristics. OUTCOME MEASURES: Multiple logistic regression analysis and descriptive statistics were performed to examine associations of employment and sociodemographic characteristics with the prevalence of chronic diseases and multimorbidity. The age-specific prevalence of six common chronic diseases was described, and Venn diagrams were applied for multimorbidity among unemployed and employed persons. RESULTS: Unemployed persons had a higher prevalence of psychological disorders (18.3% vs 5.4%), cardiovascular diseases (20.1% vs 8.9%), inflammatory diseases (24.5% vs 15.8%) and respiratory diseases (11.7% vs 6.5%) than employed persons. Unemployed persons were more likely to have one (OR 1.30 (1.29-1.31)), two (OR 1.74 (1.73-1.76)) and at least three chronic diseases (OR 2.59 (2.56-2.61)) than employed persons. Among unemployed persons, psychological disorders and inflammatory conditions increased with age but declined from middle age onwards, whereas a slight increase was observed among employed persons. Older persons, women, lower educated persons and migrants were more likely to have chronic diseases. CONCLUSION: Large differences exist in the prevalence of chronic diseases and multimorbidity among unemployed and employed persons. The age-specific prevalence follows a different pattern among employed and unemployed persons, with a relatively high prevalence of psychological disorders and inflammatory conditions among middle-aged unemployed persons. Policy measures should focus more on promoting employment among unemployed persons with chronic diseases.

Additional Metadata
Keywords epidemiology, occupational & industrial medicine, public health
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2019-035037, hdl.handle.net/1765/128685
Journal BMJ Open
Citation
Yildiz, B. (Berivan), Schuring, M, Knoef, M.G. (Marike G.), & Burdorf, A. (2020). Chronic diseases and multimorbidity among unemployed and employed persons in the Netherlands: a register-based cross-sectional study. BMJ Open, 10(7). doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2019-035037