Personality changes linked to unemployment…

Unemployment may change peoples’ core personalities, making some less conscientious, agreeable and open, which may make it difficult for them to find new jobs, according to research published by the American Psychological Association. In the study (link below), researchers at the University of Stirling gave 6,769 German adults personality tests that gauged the “Big Five” personality traits – conscientiousness, neuroticism, agreeableness, extraversion and openness at two points over the course of four years (2006-2009). Among the participants, 210 were unemployed for one to four years during the experiment. Another 251 were unemployed for under a year before finding work again. They found that men experienced increased agreeableness during the first two years of unemployment, compared to men who never lost their jobs. But after two years, the agreeableness levels of the unemployed men began to diminish and, in the long run, were lower than those of the men with jobs. For women, agreeableness declined with each year of unemployment. The study suggests that the effect of unemployment across society is more than just an economic concern – the unemployed may be unfairly stigmatized as a result of unavoidable personality change, potentially creating a downward cycle of difficulty in the labor market.

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