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The Psychological Effects Of Unemployment Essay

1146 words - 5 pages

Reported stress in the unemployed positively correlates with the time spent looking for more work (O’Brien 217). The researchers using the aggregate life stress approach have viewed unemployment as a life stressor which determines mental strain (O’Brien 240). Changes in the unemployment rate can actually produce changes in individual stressors as well (O’Brien 213). The stress and anxiety associated with income losses and decreases in material living standards may trigger mental health problems.
Decreased Life Satisfaction
“Unemployment causes significant losses in quantity of life” (Knabe, Andreas, and Ratzel 2751). The majority of studies show that unemployment produces, in most people, ...view middle of the document...

Due to the detrimental effects of unemployment on individual psychological well being, the unemployed are more likely to accept a job that they are over qualified for. It has become increasingly difficult for educated employees to find jobs that fully utilize their skill. This event is known as underemployment. Underemployment is a measure of employment and labor utilization in the economy that looks at how well the labor force is being utilized in terms of skills, experience and availability to work. Labor that falls under the underemployment classification includes those workers that are highly skilled but working in low paying jobs, workers that are highly skilled but work in low skill jobs and part-time workers that would prefer to be full-time.
A prolonged experience of tasks that are routine, simple, and directed by others will induce dissatisfaction, intellectual rigidity, low self esteem, and a sense of not being in control of one’s life (O’Brien 4). People so affected will feel separated or alienated from what they do. If job changes are not utilizing valued skills of employees, it could have long term effects on their personality. Furthermore, if a job provides no opportunity for using valued skills, then the worker is unlikely to see work as a source of personal development. It will be seen as a necessity that requires productive efforts commensurate with extrinsic benefits such as pay and security. Also, if job experiences restrict opportunities for personal control, skill use and intimacy, then employees have diminished capabilities for self discretion, competence, and interpersonal relationships (O’Brien 5). This diminishes the rate of personal development of employees as well as their job performances.
Overall, it has been found that unemployment and unhappiness have a strong association (Carroll 287). In addition to reducing individual income, it also creates non-pecuniary and psychological problems. The non-pecuniary cost of unemployment, however, considerably outweighs the amount of lost income. Winkelman and Winkelman in 1998 highlighted that monthly income would need to be increased by a factor of seven to compensate for a spell of unemployment (Carroll 287). The stains that come from unemployment, many in turn, weaken a person’s power of resistance to somatic as well as psychiatric illnesses.
Research from Jahoda found that employment gives off manifest functions, and from those come latent functions (O’Brien 246). Manifest functions are any function of an institution or other social phenomenon that is planned and intentional. Latent functions are any function of an institution or other social phenomenon that is unintentional and often unrecognized....

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