Financial stress has been found to contribute to mental health deterioration associated with job loss. This study examined whether specific types of income support programs (e.g., unemployment benefits and welfare) reduce the negative impacts of job loss on middle-aged women’s mental health in the United States. Two samples of women previously employed before their mental health assessments in their 40s and 50s were selected from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79). We conducted regression analysis to predict their mental health scores using employment and income support program status. The model also controlled for baseline health before job loss, socioeconomic status, and demographic and family life characteristics. Compared to their continuously employed counterparts, 50 + women who had job loss without unemployment benefits had significantly worse mental health. However, those receiving unemployment benefits did not have significantly worse mental health. Unemployment benefits’ ameliorating effect was not found in the 40 + sample; and welfare programs did not have similar mental health effects. Our findings suggest that certain types of income support policies are beneficial to the mental health of certain cohorts of middle-aged women. For different groups of women, additional and alternative measures are needed to reduce the mental health damage of job loss.
Liu, Y., Rehkopf, D., Zhong, J. and Rodriguez, E. (2015), "Job Loss, Unemployment Benefits, and Mental Health of Middle-Aged US Women", Enabling Gender Equality: Future Generations of the Global World (Research in Political Sociology, Vol. 23), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 81-91. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0895-993520150000023006Download as .RIS
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