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Fear of Being Laid Off Has Ripple Effect

Fear of Being Laid Off Has Ripple EffectSpanish researchers have found that the stress of shaky job security adversely affects many aspects of our family and work life. And commitment and performance at work are often compromised as well.

Generally, the feeling that one may lose hir or her job worsens satisfaction levels in other areas of life, such as family, health, financial circumstances and the work/free time balance.

As the fear of unemployment increases “the level of work insecurity rises, people are less satisfied with their personal, work and family lives and they are less committed to their work” said  psychologist Dr. Amparo Caballer, a co-author of the study.

However, the consequences of insecurity are different according to an individual’s occupational group.

Researchers studied three different groups: blue collar workers, white collar workers and professionals. The first group included people with positions that do not need high qualifications, such as supermarket shelf-fillers or hospital attendants. The second group included office and administration workers and supermarket assistants and check-out staff. The professionals group consisted of doctors, engineers and nurses.

When there is uncertainty about employment, blue collar workers “are less satisfied with life and they work less productively than the other groups studied,” Caballer said. White collar workers are the ones who display the most dissatisfaction at times of instability.

Upon examining the results of the study, researchers determined not all employees react to insecurity in the same way. As such, researchers believe a different approach should be used to address problems among the three work groups.

Researchers polled 321 individuals. Fifty-one percent of the sample worked in hospitals, 26 percent had positions in supermarkets and commercial distribution companies and 23 percent were temporary work agency employees.

Study participants were, on average, 32 years old. Two-thirds of the sample had a permanent contract and the remainder had other types of contracts (temporary, for example).

“For work insecurity studies, whether the type of contract is temporary or permanent is an important variable,” Caballer said.

The findings are published in The Spanish Journal of Psychology.

Source: FECYT – Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology

Supermarket worker photo by shutterstock.

Fear of Being Laid Off Has Ripple Effect

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Fear of Being Laid Off Has Ripple Effect. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 23, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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