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Age differences in coping with job loss




Ermann, Erica, author
Kraiger, Kurt, advisor
Cleveland, Jeanette, committee member
Rosecrance, John, committee member
Vacha-Haase, Tammi, committee member

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Using a national sample of unemployed workers from a range of ages, this study investigated the experience of coping with the stressor of involuntary job loss from an aging perspective. Based on previous research, it was expected that the process of coping with involuntary job loss would differ across the life-span as older workers face unique additional stressors. This study tested: (1) whether older unemployed workers cognitively appraised the loss of their jobs more negatively than younger unemployed workers, (2) whether the use of action-oriented problem-focused job loss coping strategies was stable across age, while the use of distress-reducing emotion-focused job loss coping strategies increased with age, and (3) whether the higher use of emotion-focused job loss coping strategies was positively related to subjective well-being and life satisfaction for older adults. Results indicated that cognitive appraisal of involuntary job loss was perceived as more intense and less reversible as age increased, but age was not related to use of coping strategies and the outcomes of well-being and life satisfaction. This study reviewed and integrated job loss and aging literature. Findings are pertinent for the policies of downsizing organizations, the counseling provided by mental health professions, and the coping of unemployed workers of all ages.


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job loss
cognitive appraisal


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