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A comparative study on mental health and life expectancy of employed and unemployed people

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https://www.eduzhai.net International Journal of Applied Psychology 2012, 2(6): 137-141 DOI: 10.5923/j.ijap.20120206.01 A Survey on the Comparison of Mental Health and Life Expectancy in Employed and Unemployed People Mohammad khaledian1,*, Sohrab Hassan Pour2, Hamed Ghadermarzi3 1Faculty of psychology department of Payame Noor University, PO BOX 19395 - 3697 , Tehran, I.R. of Iran 2M .A. in management and academic member of Ghorveh Branch Islamic Azad University 3Department of University of Kurdistan, Iran Abstract The purpose of the present study is to compare mental health and life e xpectancy in e mployed and unemployed people. The statistical population involved in this study included all e mployed and unemployed people aged between 20 and 30 in Ghorveh , a small town in Kurdistan, in (2012). A mong these participants 120 individuals were selected using convenience random sampling method (60 emp loyed and 60 unemployed ones). The questionnaires used in this study were the 28-item mental health status - General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) and the Scale of Hope Adult Schneider (SA HS) to collect the related data. Descriptive statistics such as Frequency, percentage, mean, and t-test were used for data analysis. The results show that there is a different in all the four scales, mental health (So matization), an xiety, and impairment in social functioning and depression, and life expectancy between employed and unemployed individuals. The results show that there is a difference between general health of unemployed people with academic education and unemployed people without academic education and there is also a d ifference between general health of emp loyed people with academic education and emp loyed people without academic education. There is a difference between unemployed married people and employed married people in terms of general health, but there is no significant difference between general health of unemployed and emp loyed single people. Keywords Unemployed People, Emp loyed People, Mental Health, Life Expectancy 1. Introduction Occupations and jobs form a major part of hu man social life. Job plays a majo r role in satisfying human social needs such as the need to be respect ed th rough p rov id ing an opportunity for Employee part icipation in working groups. However, health is the essential requirement to play social roles and people can function only if they be healthy[1]. However, health is the essential requirement to play social roles and people can function only if they be healthy[2]. Work constitutes mu ch o f each person’s life t ime, even people meet their life needs through work and meanwh ile enjoy the work and they live to work[3]. Work is a prerequisite for development and development provides the in t eres ts o f t he n at io n ’s po pu lat ion . W o rkin g fo rce constitutes the productive sector of the society and thus the wo rk p lace and atten t ion to mental h ealt h hav e mu ch importance[4]. When a person loves his/her job, s/he can meet his/her needs through it and thus has a positive feeling toward it. In other wo rds, job satisfaction means emot ional pleasure through meeting the needs, tendencies and hopes * Corresponding author: mohamad_khaledian22@yahoo.com (Mohammad khaledian) Published online at https://www.eduzhai.net Copyright © 2012 Scientific & Academic Publishing. All Rights Reserved that a person gets in relat ion to his work[5]. Mental health is one of the important aspects of health. According to the World Health Organizat ion defin ition, mental health includes the ability to establish harmonious relationship with others, improving personal and social environ ment and resolving conflicts and personal desires in a logical, fair and appropriate manner[6]. The term mental health is a very broad concept and includes mental wellbeing, the sense of empowerment, adequacy, understanding of intergenerational solidarity and the ability to recognize the intellectual and emotional potential in a person, in such a way that the person can recognize his/her abilities and cope with the stresses of the routine life and be productive and efficient in terms of his/her job[7]. Happiness, exh ilaration and feeling lucky are considered to be God endowments that have been awarded to the man as a result of his physical and mental health; in addition, mental health is considered as one of the effective factors in promoting and developing human being[8]. Hope consists of all the abilities of a person to provide paths towards desired goals and to have the necessary motivation to use these routes. Hope is powerful when it includes all the valuable objectives and it is likely to reach these goals in spite of all the challenging barriers that can be resolvable. When hope is achieved, it will turn into assets[9]. The hope hypothesis (1991) that was introduced by Snyder is a combinatorial theory based on the purpose that is the 138 M ohammad khaledian et al.: A Survey on the Comparison of M ental Health and Life Expectancy in Employed and Unemployed People expanded form of the tradit ional one-dimensional model and provided the opportunity to measure hope in a reliable and varied manner fo r the first time. The hypothesis says that hope is not a passive sense that only happens in dark mo ments of life, but it is a cognitive process by which people seek their goals. Hopeful adults have a distinct profile[10]. They experience failu res and setbacks as much as others in their lives but they have also developed this belief that they can cope themselves with challenges and get along well with these adversities. They will accept continuous positive inner dialogues including sentences like “I can do it”, “I will never give it up” and so on. When they face problems in achieving their valued objects, they will e xperience negative e motions less intensely. It is likely that when they face problems in achieving their goals, they choose alternative routes or they select accessible objects flexib ly. The emotions of people with low hope follow a fairly pred ictable sequence from hope to anger, anger to despair and fro m despair to apathetic ones when they are faced with irresolvable problems. People with high level of hopefulness tend to divide major issues into small and clear issues when are faced with problems in adulthood[11]. It appears that hope is necessary in all aspects of life. Hope means the ability to believe in better feeling towards future. Hope with its own dominant force stimu lates a person’s activity to acquire new experiences and creates a new force in his environment[12]. Hope is considered as one of the confronting resources of human in co mpatibility with problems and even refractory disease[13]. Also, hope can be described as a healer, mu lti-dimentional, dynamic and a powerful factor and plays an important ro le in co mpatib ility with p rivation[14]. The first widespread study in examining mental health of Iranians was conducted in 1378 and in the form of a National Health Plan. In this study, the prevalence of mental disorders was 21% (25.9%in wo men and 14.9% in men). Based on this study, prevalence of mental disorders among individuals who were above 45 and those who were divorced, widow, married, unemployed, retired and housewives were more than other groups. Prevalence of depression and anxiety symptoms was more than the physical disorder and social dysfunction[15]. The result of studies by Lee (1998) and Arber & Cooper (2011) on the employ ment of educated woman showed that mental health status of employed person is better than unemployed ones[16 - 17]. The result of a study by Yousefi et al (2010) showed that there is a significant difference between mental health of employed and unemployed people and also married and single people. A lso the results showed that employ ment of wo men with academic degrees led to greater understanding in family life and enhanced their mental health[8]. The result of a study by Seid Ahmadi (2010) showed that the prevalence of psychopathic disorders in single indiv iduals was higher than the married ones and regarding the significant differences between them, a significant relationship between mental health and marital status of individuals was determined. Of course prevalence of mental disorders among both single females and males was higher than the married ones; this difference in prevalence was significant in females. The result of Fakhraie study (1998) showed that there was a relationship between marital status and mental d isorders[1]. The result of the studies by Faraji (2000), Ah madi (1999) showed the lack of any relationship between marriage and psychological disorders[1]. The result of a study by Ilder Abadin et al (2004) on the students of Zabol Medical Un iversity showed that the level of depression was higher in married students[18]. Find ings of different studies showed that the prevalence of mental disorders in unemp loyed and married people was higher[15]. The results of a study by Kara mi et al (2002) on students of Zanjan medical students showed that there was a significant difference between employed and unemployed students in terms of their mental disorders .It also showed that the level of disorder was more prevalent among the unemployed students[8]. Rogers & May (2003) recognized that increase in marital discord led to the increase in married wo men’s inco me and increase the possibility of the employ ment of housewives. Find ings verified the same overflow process for both men and wo men, although married wo men mainly paid much attention to the child care and housekeeping responsibilities and so their working pressure was much less than the men. But longevity of married wo men like married men depends more on their workload[19]. The results of a study by Salary et al (2004) titled Investigating Mental Health of Young and Middle-aged Women in Urban Population of Gonabad; and a study by Mosala Nejad et a l (2005) tit led The Relationship Between Education and Mental Health Among Freshmen and Senior Students of Jahrom Medical School showed that married wo men have higher mental health[8]. Snyder (2006) concluded that there was a significant correlat ion between high hope and positive emotions and low hope and negative emotions. In other words low hope predicted depression symptoms that were independent fro m d iagnostic symptoms and other predictive skills[20]. The result of a study by Mohammadi et al (2010) t itled Comparing Mental Health and Life Expectancy in Employed and Unemployed Women in West Azerbaijan showed that there was no significant difference in life expectancy among employed and unemployed wo men[21]. The present study compared mental health and life expectancy of emp loyed and unemployed people in Ghorveh in (2012) and it also provides dear authorities with so me suggestions based on research achievements to in form them about mental health and life expectancy factors among emp loyed and unemployed individuals so that there will be a suitable situation to organize conditions in an intelligent manner to reduce some of the problems of the unemploy ment. It also aims to direct people toward a healthier and more developed life by providing job opportunities and tries to develop talents and trains efficient workforce in order to create a bright and successful future. International Journal of Applied Psychology 2012, 2(6): 137-141 139 Table 1. Group differences to the scales of General Health and Life expectancy in Employed and Unemployed Participants Variable Physical Disorder Anxiety Social Function Depression Tot al Life Expectancy Employed Mean SD 569 367 7.37 4.11 6.26 3.93 8.09 4.41 27.41 8.015 29.78 4.56 Unemployed Mean SD 1.31 3.44 11.44 4.61 10.72 4.11 13.28 4.67 45.75 8.2 20.58 5.11 Degree of Freedom 118 118 118 118 118 118 T 7/10 5.85 6.02 6.28 12.47 10.41 Sig 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 2. Methodology The present study investigates the mental health of emp loyed and unemployed people based on the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ). Questionnaire (GHQ) was designed in 1972 by Gold Berg. This test contains 28 questions including four scales; physical comp laints, anxiety, social performance, and depression[22]. The simp le method of Likert (0-1-2-3) was used for scoring. The cut-off point for screening was considered 23 in this test. It means that the subjects, whose scores were less than 23, we re not diagnosed as patients[23]. During the investigation of the four subscales: physical symptoms, an xiety and insomnia, social disorder performance and severe depression, if a subject’s score based on each of the four scales is above 14, there is a problem in that scale[24]. Reliability of the questionnaire was determined 91% by Palahang et al (1996)[25]. Also, reliability o f the questionnaire reported 81% in different res earch es [1]. Hope questionnaire; that was designed by Snyder et al (1991) to measure hope, contains 14 exp ressions and is run as a self-assessment. Fro m among these, four expressions measure agent thought, four expressions measure strategic thought, and four expressions are distractors. So, the questionnaire measures two subscales: agent and strategy. The average coefficient of validity and reliab ility is reported 91%[26]. Internal consistency of the test reported 0.74 – 0.84. Test-retest reliab ility was 0.80 .This nu mber during the periods of more than 8-10 weeks was higher than this value[11]. In addition, there are large amounts of data about concurrent validity o f hope questionnaire and the items it can predict. For example, there is a correlat ion of 50% to 60% between this questionnaire and the ones that measure optimism, goal achievement expectation, and self-steam[27]. The correlation of this questionnaire with disappointment questionnaire is equal to 0.51 and in the case of depression questionnaire it was equal to 0.42. That indicates reliab ility and validity of the questionnaire[28]. Statistical population of the study includes all the unemployed and employed people of Ghorveh , a small town in Kurdistan, aged 20-30 in (2012). The sample size consisted of 120 participants (60 employed and 60 unemployed ones) who were selected by using convenience random sampling method and the related data was collected by using the above-mentioned questionnaires for the participants. It should be noted that all the questionnaires were co mp leted. 3.Results As it is seen in table 1, the average score of unemployed individuals in terms of all the factors of the questionnaire (GHQ), physical co mplaints, an xiety, social performance and depression is higher compared to the employed ones. This indicates that employed persons have better health conditions and according to cut-off point and scoring, emp loyed persons have slight mental health in terms of anxiety and depression scales. But unemployed persons have problems in terms of depression scale and they have slight general health in terms o f other scales. The results also indicate the significant difference among emp loyed and unemployed persons in all the scales. The total score of all unemployed persons shows that they don’t have appropriate general health. So it can be concluded that there is a significant difference between unemployed and employed persons in terms of their general health. Again, the results of the table 1 shows that there is a significant difference between employed and unemployed persons in terms of their life expectancy and life expectancy is higher in emp loyed p ers o ns . Also, the results show that unemployed persons with academic degree had less general health compared to unemployed persons without academic degree.(df=58, t=5.39,p< 0.001). But emp loyed persons with academic degree had better general health compared to e mployed ones without academic degree (DF=58, t=6.11, p<0.001). Also the results show that unemployed married persons have less general health compared to emp loyed married ones (DF=58, t=8.63, p<0.001). But there is no significant difference between unemployed single persons and emp loyed single ones in terms of their general health. 4. Discussion and Conclusions Findings show that there is a significant difference between employed and unemployed persons in all general health scales. It means that employed persons have higher general health. These findings are consistent with studies by Karami et al (2002)[8], Yousefi et al (2010)[8], Lee 140 M ohammad khaledian et al.: A Survey on the Comparison of M ental Health and Life Expectancy in Employed and Unemployed People (1998)[16], Arber & Cooper (2011)[17], in exp laining these findings it can be said that economic independence and emp loyment pro motes mental health. If people get good jobs, they feel that they play an important part in the society and in addition to material interests they will obtained, they get a sense of inner satisfaction. If they have a regular and proper planning, they don’t feel vanity and frivolity in their life and all o f these lead to promotion of their mental health. It seems that in the world today, if people be exposed to activity, dynamis m, mob ility, vitality, and appropriate effo rt in their personal and social life, they can maintain their mental and physical health more easily and protect themselves against various mental d iseases and disorders[8]. Also the results show that there is a difference between unemployed persons with academic degree and unemp loyed persons without academic degree in terms of general health so that unemployed persons with academic degree had less general health co mpared to unemp loyed persons without academic degree; these results were consisted with Ilder Abadi (2004)[18] , Karami et al (2002)[8]. In explaining these results it can be said that one has undergone a lot of difficult ies and spent a lot of in getting academic degree but didn’t obtain any result. Also, Austin & Nicholes (1964),showed that most students and people with academic degree get higher scores in the value of friendship and since unemployed persons with academic degree pay more attention to the value of friendship and socializat ion and since they aren’t in work place ,they don’t feel this value[29]. Also, the present study shows that there is a significant relationship between emp loyed and unemployed persons in terms of life expectancy. It means that employed persons have higher life expectancy. These findings are not consistent with Mohammadi et al study (2010)[21], the reason may be that they studied life expectancy in unemployed and employed females while the present study addresses unemployed and employed males. A lso, the results show that there is a difference between emp loyed persons with academic degree and employed ones without academic degree, so that employed persons with academic degree had better general health co mpared to emp loyed ones without academic degree. These results were consistent with the study of Yousefi et al (2010)[8]. In exp lain ing these results it can be said that educated people have better performance in their workp lace. Emp loyed people with academic degree are more stimulated by the need to self-actualizat ion which is an intrinsic need[30]. Also, the results show that there is a difference between unemployed married persons and employed married persons in terms of their general health so that unemployed married persons have less general health compared to emp loyed married ones. These results are consistent with Fakhraie (1998)[1], Norbala et al (1999)[15] studies and in explaining these results it can be said that since they have poor economic and financia l conditions, they have less of general health. The results show that there is a significant difference between unemployed single persons and employed single persons in terms of general health. These results are somehow consistent with Faraji (2000)[1], Ahmadi (1999)[1], that show the lack of relationship between marriage and psychological disorders; and in explaining these results it can be said that single persons will not undergo much financial pressure. The limitation of the study is that the present research has been conducted in the city of Sanandaj and we should be careful in generalizing these results to the entire co mmunity and that the sample is specific should be considered when the results are generalized to other people. Another limitation is the lack of previous studies in this regard and relate to some hypotheses of the research. It should be noted that through scientific-research databases and by visiting valid sites we didn’t find any studies on comparing mental health and life expectancy in employed and unemployed educated, emp loyed and unemployed educated and uneducated and emp loyed and unemployed married persons. The present study is of the first ones. It is suggested that researchers study the topic in other areas and environments. It is proposed that (further research), this research be duplicated by other researchers using larger samples, samples in different classes to increase generalizab ility of the results. Since the study was conducted in Kurdistan Province and because cultural issues impact on sample (participants) selecting, it is suggested that the research be duplicated other cit ies, ethnicities and provinces. It is proposed that authorities, experts and practitioners to formulate a co mp iled and co mprehensive plan for employ ment, and providing recreational and sporting facilities, and ma ke use of successful e xperience of others. The research application is that with awareness it is possible to reduce problems in unemp loyed people on the basis of consultation methods and reduce the occurrence of mental disorders that unfortunately, is increasing today. REFERENCES [1] Seyed Ahmadi, M ., Keivanloo, F., Kushan, M ., & M ohamadi Raouf, M . (2010). Comparing M ental Health of Athlete and Non-athlete Students Journal of M edical Sciences and Health Services of Sabzevar, Volume 17, Number 2,116-122. [2] Asad Zandi, M ., Sayari, R., Ebadi, A., & Sanaie Nasab, H. (2009). Mental Health Status of Military Nurses, Journal of M ilitary M edicine, Volume 11, 3,135-141. [3] Shafi Abadi, A. (2005). Career Guidance, Counseling, Words and Theories of Career Choice in Tehran Roshd Publication. 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