OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to examine the effects of unemployment on health-related behavioral changes and worker's health, and to produce the basic data that is needed to formulate the necessary measures for reducing the health hazards and social costs caused by unemployment. METHODS: A questionnaire survey was conducted with a group of 123 people who had lost their jobs due to structural unemployment (the unemployment group) and with a group of 155 employed people (the employment group). The 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) was used as a tool for evaluating the demographic characteristics, the health-related behaviors and the health level. RESULTS: Irregular mealtimes and increased smoking and drinking rates were observed in the unemployment group (P<0.05). The results of the logistic regression analysis that was conducted after correcting for the confounding variable showed that in the unemployment group, unlike in the employment group, the odds ratio of the group with a low health level score on the SF-36 has a significant difference in "Role limitation resulting from physical problems" (OR 2.20, 95% CI=1.01~4.78), "Role limitation resulting from emotional problems" (OR 4.51, 95% CI=1.90~10.69) and "Mental health" (OR 3.43, 95% CI=1.52~7.74) among the eight lower areas. CONCLUSIONS: Unemployment causes a negative change in health-related behaviors and lower levels of mental and physical health. Systematic research must be conducted to promote good health among unemployed workers and to reduce their social costs.