Unemployment and mental health in the current economic climate in Ireland

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Brady, Deirdre
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BA (Hons) in Social Science
Dublin Business School
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The aim of the study was to research if unemployment has a negative effect on mental health of individuals in the current economic climate in Ireland. The sample consisted of 200 adults in Ireland, 100 of whom were unemployed and 100 were employed. Quantitative analysis was used to compare the findings between the two samples based on employment status. Psychological distress and depression levels were compared between the unemployed and employed sample. The findings indicated that significantly higher depression levels and psychological distress were found among those who are unemployed, with unemployed males having the highest levels of negative mental well being. Lower levels of past education were found among the unemployed sample; however a large proportion of this sample indicated that they intend to return to further education in the near future. Unemployment was also found to have a negative effect on relationships and marriage. In addition levels of physiological distress and depression within the unemployed sample were found to be the highest level at 2-6 months of unemployment duration. The findings indicated that unemployment had a severe negative impact on the mental well being of those that were currently unemployed in Ireland. Limitations of this research are discussed and suggestions for future research are proposed.