Plain Language Summaries

Plain Language Summaries aim to summarise research papers in a way that is accessible to a wider audience.

PLS 1 – What is the effect of unemployment on mortality? (SLS)

Download:  Plain Language Summary 1 (PDF 418KB)
Original paper:  Clemens, Popham & Boyle (2015)

Key points:

  • Previous research has demonstrated a link between unemployment and an increase in death rates.
  • The aim of this study was to test whether it is unemployment itself or other factors which cause this rise in mortality, such as poor health or low socio-economic status.
  • Background information on around 3,260 Scottish people was gathered from the 1991 and 2001 censuses. All of them were in employment in 1991, but half of the group were no longer in work at 2001.
  • The results found strong evidence of a direct link between unemployment and subsequent death rates in men.

PLS 2 – Do people who move to large cities progress faster in their career? (ONS LS)

Download:  Plain Language Summary 2 (PDF 407KB)
Original paper:  Champion, Coombes & Gordon (2014)

Key points:

  • ‘Escalator’ regions are places people move to get ahead more quickly in their career.
  • In England, London is the main escalator region, and there are fears that this leads to other large cities losing out on the most highly-skilled workers.
  • This research used the ONS LS to compare working age people at the 1991 and 2001 Censuses who were living in London or one of the next 9 largest English cities.
  • For people who stayed in the same city during the decade, those living in London were 30% more likely to have advanced in their career than those in the other cities. Manchester was the only other city to show a similar effect, though it did so at a much lesser level.
  • People who moved during the decade experienced a similar ‘escalator’ effect regardless of whether they moved to London or one of the other cities, and were more likely to have been promoted than people who did not move.

PLS 3 – Mortality among immigrants in England & Wales by major cause of death (ONS LS)

Download:  Plain Language Summary 3 (PDF 398KB)
Original paper:  Wallace & Kulu (2015)

Key points:

  • Previous studies have found that people who move to a new country tend to have lower death rates than the native population there. But it is also known that people from different countries can have higher risk of specific diseases, e.g., people from South Asia have higher genetic risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD)
  • By using a large sample from the ONS LS and looking at cause of death over a 40 year period from 1971-2011, the authors were able to look more closely at the risks for different immigrant groups
  • The results show that the overall pattern of lower mortality for migrants hides a more complicated picture, with some populations at higher risk of death from specific types of disease
  • These findings are important because they show that health risks vary among different groups of immigrants in the population
  • Public health campaigns may need to be targeted more carefully to reach specific at-risk groups


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