The last few years have been brutal for those unemployed and having trouble finding employment. Some recent studies highlight how devastating being laid off and unemployed is to one's mental and physical health. From Science Daily:
It appears that stress markers in unemployed people can be found, independent of smoking, alcohol consumption and overweight/obesity. Results from a study suggest that long-term unemployment may be especially damaging to health. Authors also note that older job seekers appear more affected than younger counterparts.
Research from the ESRC International Centre for Lifecourse Studies at UCL suggests direct biological effects of stress during unemployment may help explain the increased mortality and morbidity among job seekers. The study used biological signatures in blood samples called inflammatory markers, which are influenced by stress and are clinically important because mildly raised levels predict atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries due to fatty deposits) and heart disease.
From Medical Xpress:
Every year, around 45,000 people take their own lives because they are out of work or someone close to them is affected by unemployment, as a study by the University of Zurich now reveals. It includes data of 63 countries and demonstrates that during the 2008 economic crisis the number of all suicides associated with unemployment was nine times higher than previously believed.
Unemployment can drive people to suicide. Numerous studies have demonstrated that there is a relationship between unemploymentand poor health and that (the threat of) losing a job and prolonged unemployment can constitute a serious situation for those affected as well as their relatives...Every year, around one in five suicides is associated with unemployment," says first author Carlos Nordt.
Every year, almost a million people die by suicide worldwide. In order to find out how many suicides are associated with unemployment, the UZH researchers included data from 63 countries between 2000 and 2011 in their study.The countries were divided into four regions: North and South America, northern and western Europe, southern and eastern Europe, and Non-Americas and non-Europe. No data was available from China or India."Despite country-specific particularities, we found a similarly strong association between unemployment and suicide rates in all four regions," summarises sociologist Nordt. Moreover, a changing unemployment rate affected both sex as well as different age groups equally.
From Medical Xpress:
The psychological damage caused by unemployment is greater than previously thought, according to a study led by researchers at the University of Stirling. Stirling's behavioural scientists have found that unemployment, well-known to cause substantial drops in personal well being, can also cause large changes to a person's core personality.
Personality is typically considered stable across time but the researchers found that the experience of unemployment led to reduced levels of conscientiousness, agreeableness, and openness; signifying that individuals lose motivation, become less considerate and sympathetic, and less curious about the world around them. These changes were greater the longer an individual spent unemployed.
Lead researcher Dr Christopher Boyce, from the University of Stirling's Behavioural Science Centre, said: "The results challenge the idea that our personalities are 'fixed' and show that the effects of external factors such as unemployment can have large impacts on our basic personality."