March 10, 2009

Men Suffer Greater Depression During Unemployment

British researchers reported that men will be hit harder than women by the recessions gripping economies around the world, as job insecurity threatens an inherent sense of masculinity and damages mental health, Reuter's reported.

Even though more women than men are losing their jobs in Britain because of the credit crunch, men who think they may be fired or laid off are likely to become more stressed and depressed than women, according to the Cambridge University study.

The study found that the effects of job insecurity would take a greater toll on men's health than that of their female counterparts as the economic slowdown continues.

Dr. Brendan Burchell from the University of Cambridge's sociology department, who compiled the study, said it was partly due to the macho issue concerning men being "the breadwinner" in a family.

"Men, unlike women, have few positive ways of defining themselves outside of the workplace between when they leave school and when they retire," Burchell said.

However, despite several decades of more equal employment opportunities for men and women, men retain traditional beliefs that their masculinity is threatened if their employment is threatened, he added.

A poll released earlier in the year showed that women, more than men, reported being worried about the possibility of losing their jobs.

Though men may put on a braver face, the study found that job insecurity causes more symptoms of anxiety and depression in men than in women.

When unemployed men move into insecure jobs, they showed no improvement in psychological health, according to 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 the early 90's.

By contrast, even finding an insecure job helped to restore psychological health for most unemployed women.

The long-term decline in mental health can also be even more harmful to people who are under threat of losing their jobs than for those who are actually made redundant, Burchell 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," he added.


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