Different gender reactions to unemployment
The classification of 'discouraged' applies to people who are not seeking work because they feel that none is available. According to official data, 31,000 economically inactive men were classed as "discouraged" in the three months to December 2008. This is up almost two-thirds on the previous quarter, and close to double the figure a year before.
However, the number of economically inactive women classed as "discouraged" during the same period showed no change compared to the previous quarter and is up by only 4.3% compared with a year ago.
Differences in reactions
Psychologist, Julia Noakes, explains the difference between men and women: "A man's identity is very often bound up in his work," said Julia Noakes,. "Many men say they feel depressed, betrayed, weak and a sense of shame if they lose their job. My experience is that the loss of the structure of work is what they find difficult." For women, on the other hand, "often see this as an opportunity to catch up with things and themselves, particularly if they have children".
American psychologist, Dr. Robert Farra, North Shore University Health System’s Mood and Anxiety Disorders program coordinator, argues that men tend to become depressed when unemployed due to social pressures and stereotypes:
Men in our culture have been socialized to view their jobs as very important and, often, their self-definition is all wrapped up in work. If they’re out of a job, it’s a major blow to their self-esteem. Often that results in depression. There’s really no quick fix to the economic problems we face, and all of that affects human beings in a profound way.
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