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The Psychology of the Recession on the Workplace

The Psychology of the Recession on the Workplace

New Horizons in Management series

Edited by Alexander-Stamatios G. Antoniou and Cary L. Cooper

An economic recession can affect the aggregate well-being of a population. This highly regarded and timely book shows a significant increase in the mean levels of distress and dissatisfaction in the work place in recent years. In particular, increasing job demands, intrinsic job insecurity and increasingly inadequate salaries make substantial contributions to psychological distress, family conflict and related behaviors. The contributors reveal that the recession has fundamentally altered the way employees view their work and leaders. With employers and employees still facing a continued period of uncertainty, a severe impact on employment relations is a continuing reality.

Chapter 11: Unemployment and mental health

Howard Kahn

Subjects: business and management, human resource management, organisational behaviour, strategic management


The International Labour Office (ILO) measure of unemployment in the UK in 2004 was under 1.5 million and, following the recession, just below 2.5 million in June 2011 (Guardian, 2011). It is therefore apposite to ask: what are the effects of unemployment on the mental health of the affected individuals? This chapter examines some of the reported effects of unemployment upon mental health, and the effects of unemployment on various groups of individuals – men, women, young people, older people, retirees, the family – and also looks at unemployment and mortality, employing people with mental health problems, and the effect of mass unemployment on individuals. Over the last 25 years, numerous articles, books and papers have been published about the relationship between mental health and unemployment: for example, Warr (1987); Warr et al. (1988); Ezzy (1993); Hamilton et al. (1997); Björklund and Eriksson (1998), etc. Studies cover many countries and many different aspects of the association.

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