The psychological effects of unemployment

In Non classé on janvier 22, 2011 at 2:50

by: A.ElAouad

Both economic and psychological research provides convincing evidence that unemployment adversely affects a person’s wellbeing. Compared to employed individuals and those in low-paid jobs, the unemployed are significantly more likely to suffer: anxiety; depression; hostility; paranoia; loss of confidence; reduction in self-esteem; poorer cognitive performance; loss of motivation; learned helplessness; lower happiness; suicidal ideation; lower levels of coping; psychosomatic problems; and behavioral problems due to the bad idea and darkness future. Moreover, the impact of unemployment worsens over time and may have a scarring effect. Clark et al., (2001) found wellbeing is lower not only for the current unemployed but also for those with higher levels of past unemployment. During this period, the work skills (human capital) of the unemployed become outdated and redundant, making them less employable and gradually lose the motivation, This long period produces adverse health effects, including a loss of self-esteem, fear, depression, and a sense of ‘learned helplessness’. Fryer’s (1986) ‘agency restriction model’ argues that financial deprivation (i.e. the loss of the manifest benefit of employment – income) is the main negative consequence of unemployment. He believed individuals strive for meaningful determination in line with their personal values and goals. Unemployed people, having lost their income, would have greater difficulty making plans for the future, causing psychological distress. In the same way, Jahoda (1981; 1982) argues that paid employment also helps meet five important latent psychological needs: time structure; social contact outside of the immediate family; being part of a collective purpose; engagement in meaningful activities, and; having social status. Unemployment reduces an individual’s capacity to meet these psychological needs, leading to higher levels of distress. Compared to the employed, unemployed people experience greater financial strain (Rantakeisu, 1999; Turner 1995), have less structured and purposeful time use (Wanberg, et al., 1997), lower levels of activity (Waters & Moore, 2002c), are involved in fewer social activities (Underlid, 1996), feel less involved in a collective purpose, and have a lower sense of status (Creed & Muller, 2003). Waters and Moore (2002) and Kulik (2001) found financial deprivation, alternate roles, social support, and leisure activities; have a significant effect on self-esteem and psychological health during unemployment.


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