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Trends and regional distribution in health-related quality of life across sex and employment status: A repeated population-based cross-sectional study.

OBJECTIVES: This study investigated the association between sex and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) based on employment status.

METHODS: This was a population-based cross-sectional study. Data were collected from 1,996,153 adults aged ≥ 19 years who participated in the Korea Community Health Survey from 2011 to 2019. Low HRQoL was classified based on separate cutoff points (males: 0.92, females: 0.90) on the European Quality of Life-5 Dimensions index. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were used to estimate odds ratios (ORs), 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

RESULTS: From 2011 to 2019, the trend of the prevalence of low HRQoL levels was consistently high in the order of unemployed males, unemployed females, employed males, and employed females. Regarding the regional distribution of unemployed males, the prevalence of low HRQoL was between 29.5% and 43.5%. Unemployed males had a higher prevalence of low HRQoL (OR: 1.15, 95% CI: 1.12-1.24) than employed males.

CONCLUSIONS: This study suggested that the prevalence of low HRQoL levels among unemployed males was consistently high at the annual trend and regional levels. Further research considering comprehensive health determinants and multi-dimensional public health interventions is required to prevent the transition from unemployment to the deterioration of HRQoL.

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