Psychological effects of unemployment across the lifespan: A synthesis of relevant literature
Journal of Aging and Social Policy
Taylor & Francis
School of Arts and Humanities
Amid ongoing global economic uncertainty and long-standing efforts to tackle age discrimination and increase older workers’ labor force engagement, it is pertinent to consider age differences in the individual effects of joblessness. This is paramount for informing support services, policy formulation, and research. This article is based on a literature review of international peer reviewed quantitative research that has examined the relationship between age, psychological wellbeing and unemployment. Two hundred and twenty-six studies were screened and 36 were included. No relevant qualitative studies were identified. Among the studies, there was a broad consensus that there are age differences in terms of the psychological consequences of unemployment. However, they showed mixed evidence, and critical conceptual and methodological deficiencies were identified. We conclude that the body of evidence is weak and that drawing from it for the development of practice and policy in support of jobless individuals is to be cautioned against.