Postmodernity, insecurity and job loss Focus on the unemployed’s suffering

A.M. Ferraro 1, C. Guarnaccia 2, M.R. Infurna 1, L. Amato 1, M. Nicotra 3, F. Giannone 1

1 Department of Psychological,Pedagogical and Educational Sciences, University of Palermo, Italy; 2 Parisian Laboratory of Social Psychology, Paris 8 University, Paris, France; 3 Università “Kore” di Enna, Italy


Recent research shows clear correlations between the subjective perception of job’s insecurity and physical, mental and relational health. This article highlights the difficulties of workers, and particularly the impact of uncertainty and job loss on their self-esteem and psycho-physical well-being. The work presents and contextualizes the perception of job insecurity as an effect of postmodern society. 


The research involved 60 subjects that have lost the jobs and received a 3 month intervention of active policies organized in groups focusing on empowerment and employability. At two times before and after group participants filled in Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale (RSES) and Health Survey-36 (SF-36) in order to evaluate the levels of self-esteem and sense of well-being and the changes after the group intervention. 


We shown low levels of self-esteem in the whole sample at t1 and significant increasing after intervention. Concerning SF-36, initial values indicated a high level of physical and psychological problems and poor levels of well-being. Only a few of these variables change significantly after group intervention. There are also differences between groups depending on the sex of the participants, age and perception of social support. 


Data suggests that actives policies interventions can produce good results but more specific interventions would be needed in relation to the individual characteristics. We underlined the necessity to specify the general categorization of “unemployed” in order to act more effective actions based on specific target’s conditions.

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