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Unemployed Are ‘Less Considerate And Sympathetic’ Says New Study

February 25, 2015

Thanks to Welfare Weekly. Same Difference joins Welfare Weekly in finding the results insulting!

Unemployment can cause significant psychological damage to an individuals personality, according to a new study.

Behavioural scientists from the University of Stirling found that unemployment causes a persons well-being to worsen, possibly leading to “large changes” in their “core personality”.

While personality normally remains relatively constant over time, negative experiences – such as unemployment – reduces a person’s levels of “conscientiousness, agreeableness, and openness”.

According to the study, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, the longer people are out of work the less motivated, considerate and sympathetic they become. A claim which will undoubtedly be rejected and regarded as deeply offensive by some, if not all job seekers struggling to find work.

Lead researcher Dr Christopher Boyce, from the University of Stirling’s Behavioural Science Centre, said:

“The results challenge the idea that our personalities are ‘fixed’ and show that the effects of external factors such as unemployment can have large impacts on our basic personality.”

Behavioural scientists carried out two separate tests in a four-year study. All participants were in work when the study began.

A second test was carried out after four years; when participants were either still in a job, had been unemployed for one to four years, or had re-entered employment after a period of unemployment.

Researchers say the study suggests unemployed people are often “unfairly stigmatised” due to “unavoidable personality change”, leading to potential difficulties in helping them back into work and causing a negative impact on the UK labour market.

Those who had moved back into work after losing their jobs experienced only “limited change”, the study says.

Experts say policy making has a “key role” in preventing personality changes and urged politicians to create more policies designed to support unemployed people into work.

Dr Boyce said: “A high national unemployment rate may have significant implications across society.

“For example, high unemployment may hinder the development of desirable social and economic behaviours, such as participation in social activities and better health behaviours.

He added: “Policies to reduce unemployment are therefore vital not only to protect the economy but also to enable positive personality growth in individuals.”

9 Comments leave one →
  1. February 25, 2015 10:05 am

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  2. February 25, 2015 10:07 am

    I wonder if it’s unemployment itself or the way the unemployed are treated by dwp that potentially cause these changes

  3. February 25, 2015 10:07 am

    Common sense really. Experts say……..destroy capitalism before it destroys you !

  4. maria permalink
    February 25, 2015 11:53 am

    I have been unemployed for quite some time, but I am still giving, I get next to nothing but will give what I have in my pocket, albeit very small amounts of money I give what I have. I will do anything within reason, to help other people. And I am motivated to work, I still want a job. No I find that you only hit problems when you try to negotiate the help they try to stuff down your throat at the jobcentre. That demotivates me, they take your self esteem away, your confidence, everything.

    The only way to get better is to come away from the situation they put you in, only then you become more mentally healthy and more employable, even with little work available you have a better chance in employment, without all that. Thing is people can’t live on nothing so they are forced into this endless circle of becoming more unemployable. That is what really happens not this nonsense study they have conducted and may have even made up. To make people believe that their situation they are in is their own doing and it is their fault.

    • February 25, 2015 7:05 pm

      Totally agree Maria. What is being done to jobseekers is demotivating, and more of a hindrance than a help. Congratulations on having the strength of character to rise above it and keep your humanity.

  5. February 25, 2015 2:19 pm

    I am really disappointed that the University of Stirling appears to have done a poorly designed study without any adequate controls and come to a baseless conclusion on the strength of it.

    To quote ” Dr Boyce said: “A high national unemployment rate may have significant implications across society.

    “For example, high unemployment may hinder the development of desirable social and economic behaviours, such as participation in social activities and better health behaviours.

    He added: “Policies to reduce unemployment are therefore vital not only to protect the economy but also to enable positive personality growth in individuals.” ”

    There is a group who like the unemployed have ceased to work, but unlike the unemployed are not stigmatised, regularly browbeaten, and forced to undertake pointless activities by DWP advisors under threat of having all income removed for periods varying from 4 weeks to 3 years.

    I am referring to the recently retired. The study would have been infinitely more informative if exactly the same tests had been applied to retirees before and after they left work, especially if some numbers had been crunched about their income levels. My hypothesis is that the pensioners would show less average decline in “conscientiousness, agreeableness, and openness” than the unemployed, and many of them (particularly those with occupational pensions) would actually show improvements.

    Properly controlled research might lead to the conclusion that what is needed is not a reduction in unemployment (currently achieved by the process of sanctioning jobseekers until they go away, at which point official statistics presume them to be employed because what has actually happened to them is not recorded) but kinder treatment of unemployed people.

  6. maxwell1957 permalink
    February 25, 2015 5:25 pm

    This report’s conclusions rank in importance along with other questions such, ” Do bears crap in the woods? ” and ” Is the Pope head of the Roman Catholic Church? “.

  7. February 25, 2015 7:23 pm

    Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating.

  8. Barry permalink
    March 1, 2015 9:05 pm

    Being treated like scum will do that to you, not surprising really.

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