Sep 1, 1978
Social Service Review
In a system of labor market fluctuations, unemployment is not only expected but predictable. The expansion of unemployment insurance developed mostly as an attempt to cope with the economic consequences of recession for those in the "normally" stable labor force who might lose their jobs in such economic downturns. The psychological consequences of unemployment for this population are, however, poorly understood, and no systematic parallel efforts have emerged to cope with them. The present pilot study analyzes variations in mental health in a sample of unemployed Detroiters receiving unemployment benefits. A model is tested to as- sess the interactive effects of personal and social buffers as well as of stress reinforcers on mental health outcomes. Access to concrete help for everyday needs emerges as the most important buffer to psychological strain for the unemployed subjects in the study. The findings are discussed as guides for identifying needs among different groups of the unemployed and in order to suggest responsive services.