Social class, unemployment, and psychological distress

C.T. Whelan

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    30 Citations (Scopus)


    Attempts to explain variation in rates of psychological distress by social class have included reference to social selection, differential exposure to stress, and differential vulnerability arising from inequalities in access to resources. Our analysis draws on data from a national survey of the Republic of Ireland in order to examine these hypotheses. No evidence to support the social selection hypothesis was found. In addressing the issue of differential responsiveness, attention was focused on the interaction between unemployment and social class in their impact on psychological distress. While rather weak support for the hypothesis of differential vulnerability was found among women, our examination of the impact of husband's unemployment provided no evidence leading in this direction. Among men unemployment actually had a stronger impact for men in higher social classes. The major factors leading to social class differences in psychological distress are greater exposure to unemployment and economic deprivation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)49-61
    Number of pages13
    JournalEuropean Sociological Review
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 01 May 1994

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    Copyright 2010 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

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