The 'prolonged misery' of male job insecurity
Recessions hurt men most according to new research from Cambridge University.
A study by Dr Brendan Burchell from the University's sociology department shows that although more women than men are losing their jobs in Britain in the current recession, men who think they may be fired or made redundant are more likely to become stressed and depressed about it than women. This may be because job insecurity threatens our masculinity says Burchell.
'In part there is a macho issue about men being the breadwinner,' he told Reuters. 'Men, unlike women, have few positive ways of defining themselves outside of the workplace between when they leave school and when they retire.'
Burchell believes that despite several decades of increasingly equal employment opportunities for men and women, men retain traditional beliefs that their masculinity is threatened if their employment is threatened.
In a Populus poll released earlier this year more women than men said they were worried about the possibility of losing their jobs. But the Cambridge study found that while men may put on a braver face, job insecurity causes more symptoms of anxiety and depression in men than in women.
Analyzing data from 300 current British employees, combined with a survey of thousands of people by the Economic and Social Research Council charting the effects of social and economic change since 1991, Burchell found that when unemployed men moved into insecure jobs, they showed no improvement in psychological health whereas for unemployed women, even finding an insecure job helped to restore psychological health.
Burchell said that the long-term risk of losing your job could be worse than the short-term impact of actually losing it. He said: 'given that most economic forecasts predict that the recession will be long with a slow recovery, the results mean that many people -- and men in particular -- could be entering into a period of prolonged and growing misery.'
Page created on March 11th, 2009
Page updated on December 1st, 2009