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The Effect of Employment Status Change on Self-Attitudes

Richard M. Cohn
Social Psychology
Vol. 41, No. 2 (Jun., 1978), pp. 81-93
DOI: 10.2307/3033568
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3033568
Page Count: 13
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The Effect of Employment Status Change on Self-Attitudes
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Abstract

A theoretical model of the effect of status change on self-attitudes is developed. The model predicts that the effect is conditional upon (1) the amount of concomitant change in social role performance, (2) the relative importance of the status change to the individual, and (3) the individual's attribution of cause for the status change. Using data from a national panel survey, a longitudinal analysis of the effect of job loss on satisfaction with self produces results consistent with the model's predictions. Becoming unemployed does lead to greater dissatisfaction with self. This dissatisfaction is accentuated by (1) concomitant change in familial role performance (indicated by level of housework activity and relative contribution to family income), (2) the unavailability of alternative roles and prior achievements, and (3) the lack of an external locus of cause to which to attribute job loss (level of local area unemployment). Furthermore, with reemployment, the decrement in satisfaction with self initially experienced with unemployment is removed, after taking into account residual effects of unemployment on familial role performance.

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