Doctors should be more aware of the possible effects of fainting on their patient’s work life, says the scientist behind a new study. (Photo: Shutterstock)
Doctors should be more aware of the possible effects of fainting on their patient’s work life, says the scientist behind a new study. (Photo: Shutterstock)

People who faint are twice as likely to lose their job

Fainting could be an indicator for unemployment—especially for young people, shows a new study of 21,000 participants.

To lose consciousness is a distressing experience that unfortunately may have numerous negative consequences later on in life—even losing your job.

These are the conclusions of a new study that identifies the significance that fainting can have on your working life.

“It’s remarkable that the association is so clear,” says lead-author of the study, Anna-Karin Numé, a doctor and Ph.D. student at Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, Denmark.

The study shows that fainting multiple times doubles the risk of losing your job either by being fired or by resigning within two years. The risk group has a 31 per cent risk of unemployment, compared to 15 per cent in the general population.

Henrik Kolstad from Working Medicine Clinic at Aarhus University, Denmark is impressed with the study after reading the scientific article published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

“It’s a great study. Very well analysed and a good example of what the Danish national registers can be used for,” he says.

Read More: First aid is not only saving lives but also jobs

Young people are especially at risk

Numé and her colleagues collected data on all recorded incidences of fainting between 2008 and 2012 from the National registers in Denmark—21,729 people with an average age of 48.4.

People under 40 have an especially high risk of falling out of the labour market if they fainted.

“It’s an important point as this is the age group that has the most years left on the job market. So here, the trend is especially significant for society as a whole,” says Numé.

Moreover, the study shows that out of the people who had fainted and lost their job later on, 60 per cent ended up on out of work benefits, in flex-jobs, or in other sickness-related support schemes.

However, the new study cannot say why this group is particularly likely to lose their job after fainting.

Read More: Insecure people find it hard to hold jobs

Reasons why are not yet known

The scientists cannot say why people are more likely to lose their job down the line after a fainting episode.

Fainting could be a symptom of an underlying disease or state of mind, which could in fact be the real problem, says Numé.

“The problem is just that many people often [seek medical attention] because they fainted, but often we can’t say what caused it. So we chose to analyse fainting as a large group to learn something about these patient’s future prognoses,” she says.

She hopes that doctors will be more aware of the work-related impacts of fainting and that it can inspire further research in the area.


Read more in the Danish version of this story on

Translated by: Catherine Jex

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