Article

Effects of Unemployment on Health in a Community Survey: Main, Modifying, and Mediating Effects

University of Michigan
Journal of Social Issues (Impact Factor: 1.96). 12/1987; 44(4):69 - 85. DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-4560.1988.tb02092.x

ABSTRACT Results from a community survey in a sample of high-unemployment census tracts in southeastern Michigan showed significant elevations of depression, anxiety, somatization, and self-reported physical illness among the currently unemployed. These adverse effects were largely reversed by reemployment. Subsequent analyses documented modifying effects of social support, self-concept, and coping. We also found two mediating processes that account for the overall effects of current unemployment: (a) the intervening effects of financial strain, and (b) an influence of unemployment in creating heightened vulnerability to other stressful life events. The implications of these results for the design and implementation of preventive interventions are briefly discussed.

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    • "Within this context, an important question involves the extent to which the economic downturn is associated with psychological distress and related outcomes. Prior work concerning the Great Depression and other economic downturns, for example, suggests that individuals who are unemployed or underemployed in tough economic times experience higher levels of depression and anxiety, as well as increased alcohol use, compared with those who are adequately employed (Catalano, 1991; Dooley and Prause, 1997; Elder, 1974; Kessler et al., 1988; Luoto et al., 1998; Montgomery et al., 1999). However, research in this tradition has tended to concentrate on the effects of unemployment alone, perhaps underestimating the full breadth of diffi cult exposure, psychological distress, and drinking patterns are related. "
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