Children with chronic conditions such as diabetes or complex diagnoses were hospitalized more frequently during economic recessions. (Photos: Shutterstock)
High unemployment has been shown to take a toll on the health of adults who lose their jobs for extended periods of time.
But what about the children of unemployed households? Which childhood health conditions are more likely to be exacerbated by a parental job loss to the point where hospitalization occurs?
That was the question posed by a diverse research team composed of healthcare and economics professors and statisticians. Their data, research model, and findings were reported in Children’s Health in October under the title, “Economy-Sensitive Conditions: Are Some Pediatric Hospitalizations Triggered By Economic Recessions?”
According to their work, the answer is “Yes. Some. But not all.”
The team analyzed data from 14 states beginning in 2002 and progressing through three-year intervals until 2014. The states (Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, and Washington) were chosen based on detailed reporting to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project State Inpatient Databases.
The team justified the project on the basis of the lack of precedential studies of pediatric hospitalizations during times of high unemployment.
Much of what they found was not surprising. To wit:
- Increased hospitalizations for children were identified in every state during times of high unemployment.