Distress and unemployment: the related economic and noneconomic factors in a sample of unemployed adults

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Objectives: To examine the associations between economic and noneconomic factors and psychological distress in a group of 748 unemployed adults during economic recession. Methods: Data were collected through a questionnaire. Bivariate and logistic regression analyses were used to test the associations between distress and the deprivation of income and latent benefits of employment (time structure, activity, status, collective purpose and social contact). Results: The participants’ mean of distress was higher than the national population mean, and 46.5% of the participants scored above that. All economic and noneconomic factors emerged as strong predictors of distress; particularly financial deprivation (OR 1.06; CI 95 % 1.04–1.09) and lack of structured time (OR 1.07; CI 95 % 1.05–1.09). Women (OR 1.40; CI 95 % 1.04–1.86) and people with lower education levels (OR 0.45; CI 95 % 0.34–0.61) were more affected. Conclusions: The unemployed individuals score high on distress, especially those facing financial strain and lack of structured time, and women and individuals with lower education in particular. Given the recessionary context and high unemployment rates, these insights raise awareness for policies and actions targeting the needs of unemployed people.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)821-828
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Public Health
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2016


  • Economic recession
  • Financial deprivation
  • Mental health
  • Psychological stress
  • Time structure
  • Unemployment


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