Miguel is 34 years old and the father of two young sons, of whom he has partial custody. Five weeks ago, Miguel lost his job at the local factory where he had worked for the past 4 years. Since losing his job, Miguel has experienced a dramatic change in his mood. He often feels down and sometimes finds it difficult to get out of bed in the morning. While he had some savings, they are beginning to run out, and Miguel worries about his ability to continue to support himself and provide for his sons if he is unable to find work.
While he realizes it is important for him to continue seeking work, Miguel has difficulty motivating himself to apply for jobs and attend interviews. He has limited job skills and there are not many opportunities in the town in which he lives.
Job loss has been linked to adverse mental and physical health outcomes including health complaints, depression, and impaired psychosocial functioning. A two year longitudinal study that followed individuals after job loss found that job loss was associated with depression, and that this relationship was mediated by financial strain. As in Miguel’s case, the depression resulting from job loss can decrease one’s ability to find work, leading to a downward spiral that may be difficult to escape.
6. Price, RH, Choi, JN, Vinokur, AD. Links in the chain of adversity following job loss: How financial strain and loss of personal control lead to depression, impaired functioning and poor health. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology 2002;7:302-12.