Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1984;10(6):505-509    pdf


Unemployment and mental disturbance.

by Lehtinen V

Most of the investigations on unemployment and mental disorder tend to indicate that these two issues have a clear, but not very strong, association. The data from these studies seem further to indicate that this association is not a linear cause-effect relationship in either direction, but a circular or interactional relationship. Unemployment may affect mental health by acting as a precipitating factor. But, on the other hand, it is evident that the risk for the mentally disturbed to become unemployed is clearly greater than for other people. Many other factors besides unemployment and mental disorder act in this complex interaction network too. All unemployed are not similar, but such factors as age, education, domicile, family, other social ties, and personality have a great effect on the whole. Work is an important resource for mental health. Unemployment can be regarded as a risk factor because it means that the individual loses the positive and supporting elements which work has. The negative factors are (i) the lack of emotional and economic security, (ii) the perplexity of the time perspective, (iii) isolation, (iv) identity diffusion, and (v) a general sense of frustration.