Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Paul M. Muchinsky


For most individuals who lose their jobs, unemployment is a stressful life event. Yet, not all individuals react negatively to being unemployed. Recent research has focused on delineating the factors that might influence the unemployment experience. The purpose of this study was to investigate the roles of eight variables as predictors of mental health, cognitive impairment, physical health, and feelings about being unemployed for individuals without work. Also, because few studies have compared the unemployment experience of men and women, it was of interest to assess whether the independent variables were predictive of the unemployment experience for both men and women;Participants in this study included 247 unemployed individuals (128 men, 119 women) who were asked to complete a questionnaire while waiting to see a job counselor at a regional Job Service office. The questionnaire included measures assessing the following independent variables: (1) financial concerns; (2) financial difficulty; (3) objective income; (4) employment commitment (how much does work mean to the individual); (5) last job satisfaction; (6) job-seeking confidence; (7) time structure (degree to which individuals perceive their use of time to be structured and purposive); and (8) coping resources. Four outcome variables were assessed: mental health, cognitive impairment, physical symptoms, and unemployment negativity (how upset an individual is specifically about his/her unemployment);Multiple regression results for the total sample indicated that the independent variables explained 65% of the variance in mental health, 44% of the variance in cognitive impairment, 23% of the variance in physical symptoms, and 41% of the variance in unemployment negativity. Time structure was the best predictor for all four of the outcome variables. Multiple regression results were also compared for men versus women. The pattern of findings were similar for both groups, although the variance accounted for in each of the outcome variables was higher for men than for women. Consistent with the results for the total sample, time structure was the best predictor for the four outcome variables for both men and women. This research has implications for an increased understanding of the unemployment experience and also for interventions with unemployed groups.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Connie R. Wanberg



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

144 pages