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Unemployment and mental health: A critical review

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  • Ezzy, Douglas
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    Abstract

    Existing theoretical explanations of the mental health consequences of unemployment are outlined, critically reviewed and an alternative theory proposed. Theories reviewed include the rehabilitation approach, the stages model, Jahoda's functional model, Warr's vitamin model and Fryer's agency critique. A discussion of the effects of moderating variables--including the quality of work, work commitment and age--is used to assess the usefulness of these theoretical explanations. Most theories are found to deal inadequately with the temporal aspects of unemployment, the relationship between subjective experience and objective location and the complexity of the effects of moderating variables. In response to these inadequacies and in contrast to the predominant empiricist, psychological orientation, a middle range theory is proposed informed by a sociological perspective. The proposed theory conceptualises unemployment as a type of status passage and suggests an explanation of changes in mental health derived from identity theory.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 37 (1993)
    Issue (Month): 1 (July)
    Pages: 41-52

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:37:y:1993:i:1:p:41-52

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    Related research

    Keywords: unemployment mental health self-concept status passage;

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    Cited by:
    1. Susan L. Ettner & Richard G. Frank & Ronald C. Kessler, 1997. "The Impact of Psychiatric Disorders on Labor Market Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 5989, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Ahs, Annika Maria Helen & Westerling, Ragnar, 2006. "Health care utilization among persons who are unemployed or outside the labour force," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 78(2-3), pages 178-193, October.
    3. Østhus, Ståle, 2012. "Health effects of downsizing survival and job loss in Norway," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(5), pages 946-953.
    4. Wahl, Ingrid & Pollai, Maria & Kirchler, Erich, 2013. "Status, identification and in-group favouritism of the unemployed compared to other social categories," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 37-43.
    5. Steven Kennedy, 2003. "Immigrant Mental Health and Unemployment," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 92, McMaster University.

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