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The Experience of Unemployment in Ireland: A Thematic Analysis


  • Liam Delaney

    (Stirling University, UCD Geary Institute, University College Dublin)

  • Michael Egan

    (UCD Geary Institute)

  • Nicola O'Connell

    (UCD Geary Institute)


This paper reports on the results of 13 semi-structured focus groups carried out with unemployed respondents across Ireland in 2010. The purpose of the research is to examine the subjective experience of unemployment across a wide range of dimensions. 15 overarching themes emerged from a detailed thematic analysis of the texts of the interviews. The themes highlight a wide range of aversive psychological states associated with unemployment. The themes examine: perceptions of the economic boom; reactions to the recession; attitudes toward media coverage; gender differences in experiences of unemployment; financial worries relating to unemployment; perceptions of the position of young people; uncertainty about the future; lack of structure and routine associated with unemployment; health issues associated with unemployment; identity challenges; the social context of unemployment; issues surrounding reentering employment; attitudes toward social protection payments; social comparison effect and perceptions of training services. This paper concludes with a brief discussion of the psychological impact of unemployment.

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  • Liam Delaney & Michael Egan & Nicola O'Connell, 2011. "The Experience of Unemployment in Ireland: A Thematic Analysis," Working Papers 201116, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucd:wpaper:201116

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Krueger, Alan B. & Mueller, Andreas, 2010. "Job search and unemployment insurance: New evidence from time use data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(3-4), pages 298-307, April.
    2. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-659, May.
    3. Bell, David N.F. & Blanchflower, David G., 2009. "What Should Be Done about Rising Unemployment in the UK?," IZA Discussion Papers 4040, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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