Lars E. Kroll of the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin and colleagues analyzed data obtained from 12,022 people ages 30-59 as part of the Current Health in Germany survey that was conducted in 2008 and 2009.
The researchers used health indicators and measured social support based on the Oslo Three-Item Social Support Scale.
The unemployed studied suffered from physical, emotional and functional impairment more often than the employed. However, those who had little social support are more likely to be impaired in these three areas whether employed or unemployed, the study says.
"Health-related consequences of unemployment manifest as psychosocial health problems due to loss of income, job-related social contact, or social prestige," the study says. "Social resources have a particularly marked effect on how well individuals cope with unemployment: the person affected copes with the loss of his/her job more successfully if he/she has a social support network and does not feel alone."
The findings are published in the Deutsches Arzteblatt International.