The impact of husband’s job loss on partners’ mental health

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Abstract

The objective of this paper is to examine the impact of job loss on family mental well-being. The negative income shock can affect the mental health status of the individual who directly experiences such displacement, as well as the psychological well-being of his partner; also, job loss may have a significantly detrimental effect on life satisfaction, self-esteem and on the individual’s perceived role in society. This analysis is based on a sample of married and cohabitating couples from the first 14 waves of the British Household Panel Survey. In order to correct for the possible endogeneity of job loss, data from employment histories is utilised and redundancies (different from dismissals) in declining industries are used as an indicator of exogenous job loss. Results show evidence that couples in which the husband experiences a job loss are more likely to experience poor mental health.