Getting Fired Can Be Harder Than Losing a Spouse

Unemployment is a blip on the record that doesn't go away
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 30, 2017 1:00 PM CDT
Getting Fired Can Be Harder Than Losing a Spouse
It can take longer to bounce back from unemployment than grief.   (Getty Images/chiarabramuzzo)

Here's something you might not want to forward to your significant other: You're likely to recover from losing him or her faster than you would recover from losing your job. So say researchers at the University of East Anglia and the What Works Center for Wellbeing in the UK, who've reviewed more than 4,000 research papers and tell Bloomberg that while broken hearts heal, the hole on the resume doesn't go away. "After someone loses a partner, [well-being will] take a big dip and then, on average, it'll get back to previous levels," one of the researchers says. "But with unemployment, we just don't see that happening." Well-being includes factors like mental health, life satisfaction, and self-esteem.

The team found that, at least among British men, it takes two years for well-being to return to normal levels after being widowed, while it takes four years after getting a divorce. Losing a job, however, results in a decline that continues for more than four years, and this decline appears to be harder on men than on women. "To have meaning in your life in this society means to be working, contributing, and to have that status," the researcher adds, noting that help from family and friends can soften the blow, while "people who regularly attended church had a buffering effect from the impact of unemployment." (A small city in Iowa claims the lowest unemployment rate in the country.)

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