Fernández M. Repercuciones psicosociales del desempleo. [Psycho-social repercussions of unemployment.] Salud Problema [Health as a Problem]. (México) 2000 (June); 5(8): 21-41.

Objectives: To know how unemployment is lived and experienced, in the eyes of those who suffer from it.

Methodology: Qualitative, based on phenomenology.

Results: Unemployment becomes an experience that breaks down feeling and meaning in the daily lives of those suffer from it. Among the principal findings of the study are: unemployment is a living, experiential process through which the unemployed person loses the capacity for action. The value ascribed to work provides the individual with a series of patterns, experiences, and schemes for action that classify one as an employee, and with that one gains access to a prescribed lifestyle. Employment assures social standing and a relatively stable economic position, as well as a meaningful sequence of daily activities and a sense of social belonging. Participation in work also imbues the individual with a sense of capacity for action.

The deterioration in the quality of life of the unemployed must be explained and understood as a psycho-social process rooted in a political and socioeconomic context, namely, neoliberal capitalism. This experiential process as observed in the unemployed clearly shows how unemployment, in breaking down patterns of feeling in those who live through it, turns into a threatening experience.

Conclusions: This works brings to light some of the possible psycho-social repercussions that the experience of being without work can produce, as well as the effect that it has on shattering the pattern of daily life of those who go though it, with the consequent deterioration in quality of life.

Copyright 2007 University of New Mexico