Social Indicators Research

, Volume 124, Issue 2, pp 617–635 | Cite as

Not for People Like Us? A Six-Year Panel Study of the Mutual Relationship Between Feelings of Relative Deprivation and Occupational Status Among Young Adults in Flanders

  • Ilse LaurijssenEmail author
  • Bram Spruyt


In this paper we analysed the mutual relationship between occupational status and feelings of relative deprivation, at the start of young adults’ labour market careers. For our analysis we used panel data from young adults for the birth cohort of 1976 who were surveyed three times between the ages of 23 and 29, between 1999 and 2005. These panel data not only provided information about the associations between the occupational status and feelings of relative deprivation, but also allowed us to gain better insight into the causal ordering of the relationship between both. We find effects in both directions, from occupational status to feelings of relative deprivation, and the reverse, although these differ both in strength and timing. The effect of feelings of relative deprivation for the occupational status is significant but rather weak, and only tangible between the age of 23 and 26. The effect of the occupational status on relative deprivation on the other hand is substantially stronger, but manifests itself only between the age of 26 and 29.


Feelings of relative deprivation Employment Causality Panel data Occupational status 



This research was financed by the Flemish Government in the framework of its program for Policy Research Centres. Both the data collection (SONAR data) and the analyses were done as part of the program of the Policy Research Centre for Study and School Careers. The Research Council of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel granted additional funds.


  1. Abrams, D., & Hogg, M. A. (2004). Metatheory: Lessons from social identity research. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 8(2), 98–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Agnew, R. (2012). Reflection on "a revised strain theory of delinquency". Social Forces, 91(1), 33–38.Google Scholar
  3. Bakker, B., Sieben, I., Nieuwbeerta, P., & Ganzeboom, H. (1997). Maten voor prestige, sociaal-economische status en sociale klasse voor de standaard beroepenclassficiatie 1992. Sociale Wetenschappen, 40(1), 1–22.Google Scholar
  4. Bartley, M. (1999). Unemployment and ill health: Understanding the relationship. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 48(4), 333–337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Boehm, J. K., & Lyobomirsky, S. (2008). Does happiness promote career success? Journal of Career Assessment, 16(1), 101–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bonilla-Silva, E. L. A., & Embrick, D. G. (2004). “I did not get that job because a black man…”: The story lines and testimonies of color-blind racism. Sociological Forum, 19(4), 555–581.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brown, T. A. (2006). Confirmatory factor analysis for applied research. New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  8. Burchell, B. (1993). The effects of labour market position, job insecurity, and unemployment on psychological health. In D. Gallie, C. Marsh, & C. Vogler (Eds.), Social change and the experience of unemployment (pp. 188–212). Oxford: University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Burchell, B. (1994). Who is affected by unemployment? Job insecurity and labour market influences on psychological health. In D. Gallie, C. Marsh, & C. Vogler (Eds.), Unemployment and social change. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  10. Charlesworth, S. J. (1999). A phenomenology of working class experience. Cambridge: University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. De Ro, J. (2008). Education in Flanders. The Flemish educational landscape in a nutshell. Brussel: Department of Education and Training.Google Scholar
  12. De Witte, H. (1993). Gevolgen van langdurige werkloosheid voor het psychisch welzijn: overzicht van de onderzoeksliteratuur. Psychologica Belgica, 33(1), 1–35.Google Scholar
  13. De Witte, H. (1999). Job insecurity and psychological well-being: Review of the literature and exploration of some unresolved issues. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 8(2), 155–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. De Witte, H. (2003). Over de gevolgen van werkloosheid en jobonzekerheid voor het welzijn. Empirische toets op basis van de Europese Waardenstudie. Tijdschrift voor Klinische Psychologie, 33(1), 7–21.Google Scholar
  15. De Witte, H., & Vets, C. (2009). Antecedenten en gevolgen van baanonzekerheid in Vlaanderen tussen 1996 en 2007. Analyse van risicogroepen in functie van de economische conjunctuur. In J. Pickery (Ed.), Vlaanderen Gepeild 2009 (pp. 64–87). Brussel: Studiedienst van de Vlaamse Regering.Google Scholar
  16. Demanet, J., & Van Houtte, M. (2011). Social-ethnic school composition and school misconduct: does sense of futility clarify the picture. Sociological Spectrum, 31(2), 224–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Derks, A. (2006). Populism and the ambivalence of egalitarianism. How do the underprivileged reconcile a right wing party preference with their socio-economic attitudes? World Political Science Review, 2(3), 175–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Drobnic, S., Beham, B., & Präg, P. (2010). Good job, good life? Working conditions and quality of life in Europe. Social Indicators Research, 99(2), 205–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Elchardus, M. (2011). Classical republicanism and the contemporary voter: An empirical cultural sociology of the relationship between the private realm and the public sphere. Poetics, 39(5), 407–425.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Elchardus, M., Glorieux, I., Derks, A., & Pelleriaux, K. (1996). Voorspelbaar ongeluk. Over letsels die werkloosheid nalaat bij mannen en hun kinderen. Brussel: VUBpress.Google Scholar
  21. Elchardus, M., & Spruyt, B. (2012). The contemporary contradictions of egalitarianism: an empirical analysis of the relationship between the old and new left/right alignmnents. European Political Science Review, 4(2), 217–239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Faragher, E. B., Cass, M., & Cooper, C. L. (2005). The relationship between job characteristics and health: a meta-analysis. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 62(2), 105–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Feather, N., & O’Brien, G. (1986). A longitudinal analysis of the effects of different patterns of employment and unemployment on school leavers. British Journal of Pyschology, 77(4), 459–477.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Finkel, S. (1995). Causal analysis with panel data. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Fox, J. (2006). Structural equation modeling with the SEM package. Structural Equation Modeling, 13(3), 465–486.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Funk, C. L. (2000). The dual influence of self-interest and societal interest in public opinion. Political Research Quarterly, 53(1), 37–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Gallie, D., Marsh, C., & Vogler, C. (1993). Social change and the experience of unemployment. Oxford: University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Ganzeboom, H. B. G., De Graaf, P. M., & Treiman, D. J. (1992). A standard international socio-economic index of occupational status. Social Science Research, 21(1), 1–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Glavin, P. (2013). The impact of job insecurity and job degradation on the sense of personal control. Work and Occupations, 40(2), 115–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Glorieux, I. (1995). Arbeid als zingever. Een onderzoek naar de betekenis van arbeid in het leven van mannen en vrouwen. Brussel: VUBpress.Google Scholar
  31. Graetz, B. (1993). Health consequences of employment and unemployment: Longitudinal evidence for young men and women. Social Science and Medicine, 36(6), 715–724.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Grant, P. R., & Brown, R. (1995). From ethnocentrism to collective protest: Responses to relative deprivation and threats to social identity. Social Psychology Quarterly, 58(3), 195–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hogg, M. A. (2000). Subjective uncertainty reduction through self-categorization. A motivational theory of social identity processes. European Review of Social Psychology, 11(1), 223–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hogg, M. A., Hohmann, Z. P., & Rivera, J. E. (2008). Why do people join groups? Three Motivational accounts from social psychology. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 2(3), 1269–1280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hogg, M. A., Meehan, C., & Farquharson, J. (2010). The solace of radicalism: self-uncertainty and group identification in the face of threat. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46(6), 1061–1066.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Houtman, D. (2003). Class and politics in contemporary social science: “Marxism-lite” and its blind spot for culture. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  37. Jackson, L. A., Sullivan, L. A., Harnish, R., & Hodge, C. N. (1996). Achieving positive social identity: social mobility, social creativity, and permeability of group boundaries. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70(2), 241–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Jahoda, M. (1982). Employment and unemployment. A social-psychological analysis. Cambridge: University Press.Google Scholar
  39. Janlert, U., & Hammarström, A. (2009). Which theory is Best? Explanatory models of the relationship between unemployment and health. BMC Public Health, 9, 235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Judge, T. A., Bono, J. E., Thoresen, C. J., & Patton, G. K. (2001). The job statisfaction-job performance relationship: a qualitative and quantitative review. Psychological Bulletin, 127(3), 376–407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Judge, T. A., & Watanabe, S. (1993). Another look at the job satisfaction—life satisfaction relationship. Journal of Applied Psychology, 78(6), 939–948.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Karsten, I. P., & Batanic, B. (2010). The need for work: Jahoda’s latent functions of employment in a representative sample of the German population. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 31(1), 45–64.Google Scholar
  43. Karsten, I. P., & Klaus, M. (2009). Unemployment impairs mental health: Meta-analyses. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 74(3), 264–282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Khattab, N., & Fenton, S. (2009). What makes young adults happy? Employment and non-work as determinants of life. Sociology, 43(1), 11–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Labriola, M., Feveila, H., Christensen, K. B., Bültmann, U., & Lund, T. (2009). The impact of job satisfaction on the risk of disability pension. A 15-year prospective study. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 37(7), 778–780.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Marks, G. N., & Fleming, N. (1999). Influences and consequences of well-being among Australian young people: 1980-1995. Social Indicators Research, 46(3), 301–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Meltzer, B. N., & Musolf, G. R. (2002). Resentment and ressentiment. Sociological Inquiry, 72(2), 240–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Morgan, J. C., Dill, J., & Kalleberg, A. L. (2013). The quality of healthcare jobs: Can intrinsic rewards compensate for low extrinsic rewards? Work, Employment & Society, 27(5), 802–822.Google Scholar
  49. Mummendey, A., Kessler, T., Klink, A., & Mielke, R. (1999). Strategies to cope with negative social identity: predictions by social identity theory and relative deprivation theory. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 76(2), 229–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Murphy, G. C., & Athanasou, J. A. (1999). The effect of unemployment on mental health. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 72(1), 83–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Murphy, J. G., & Hampton, J. (1988). Forgiveness and mercy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Mutz, D.C. (2006[1998]). Impersonal Influence. How Perceptions of Mass Collectives Affect Political Attitudes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  53. O’Brien, G. (1996). Psychology of work and unemployment. Chichester: Wiley.Google Scholar
  54. Pelleriaux, K. (2001). Demotie en burgerschap. De culturele constructie van ongelijkheid in de kennismaatschappij. Brussel: VUBpress.Google Scholar
  55. Pettigrew, T. F. (2001). Summing up: relative deprivation as a key social psychological concept. In I. Walker & H. Smith (Eds.), Relative deprivation: Specification, development and integration (pp. 351–373). New York: Cambridge University Pres.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Pettigrew, T. F., Christ, O., Wagner, U., Meertens, R. W., van Dick, R., & Zick, A. (2008). Relative deprivation and intergroup prejudice. Journal of Social Issues, 64(2), 385–401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Roberts, B. W., Caspi, A., & Moffitt, T. E. (2003). Work experiences and personality development in young adulthood. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(3), 582–593.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Rode, J. C., & Near, J. P. (2005). Spillover between work attitudes and overall life attitudes: Myth or reality? Social Indicators Research, 70(1), 79–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Runciman, R. W. (1966). Relative deprivation and social justice: A study of attitudes to social inequality in twentieth-century England. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  60. Rydgren, J. (2003). Meso-level reasons for racism and xenophobia. Some converging and diverging effects of radical right populism in France and Sweden. European Journal of Social Theory, 6(1), 45–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Samuel, R., Bergman, M. M., & Hupka-Brunner, S. (2013). The interplay between educational achievement, occupational success, and well-being. Social Indicators Research, 111(1), 75–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Schnabel, P. (2004). Het zestiende Sociaal en Cultureel rapport kijkt zestien jaar vooruit. In SCP (Ed.), In het zicht van de toekomst. Sociaal en cultureel rapport 2004 (pp. 45–90). Den Haag: Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau.Google Scholar
  63. SCP. (2003). De sociale staat van Nederland 2003. Den Haag: Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau.Google Scholar
  64. Smith, H. J., Pettigrew, T. F., Pippin, G. M., & Bialosiewicz, S. (2012). Relative deprivation: a theoretical and meta-analytic review. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 16(3), 203–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Smith, H. J., Spears, R., & Oyen, M. (1994). “People like us”: the influence of personal deprivation and group membership salience on justice evaluations. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 30(3), 277–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Spector, P. E. (1997). Job satisfaction: Application, assessment, causes and consequences. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  67. Stouffer, S. A., et al. (1949). The American soldier. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  68. Tilly, C. (2006). Why? What happens when people give reasons … and why. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  69. Uchitelle, L. (2006). The disposable American: Layoffs and their consequences. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.Google Scholar
  70. Van Houtte, M., & Stevens, P. A. J. (2008). Sense of futility: the missing link between track position and self-reported school misconduct. Youth and Society, 40(2), 245–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Van Houtte, M., & Stevens, P. A. J. (2010). The culture of futility and its impact on study culture in technical/vocational schools in Belgium. Oxford Review of Education, 36(1), 23–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Vanneman, R. D., & Pettigrew, T. F. (1972). Race and relative deprivation in the urban United States. Race and Class, 13(4), 461–486.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Vansteenkiste, M., Lens, W., De Witte, S., De Witte, H., & Deci, E. L. (2004). The ‘why’ and ‘why not’ of job search behaviour: Their relation to searching, unemployment experience, and well-being. European Journal of Social Psychology, 34(3), 345–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Verkleij, H. (1988). Langdurige werkloosheid, werkhervatting en gezondheid. Bevindingen van een 2-jarige follow-up studie. Amsterdam: Swets and Zeitlinger.Google Scholar
  75. Walsh, J. P., & Tseng, S.-F. (1998). The effects of job characteristics on active effort at work. Work and Occupations, 25(1), 74–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Warr, P. (1987). The psychological impact of continuing unemployment: Some longitudinal data and a general model. In D. Schwefel, P. Svensson, & H. Zöllner (Eds.), Unemployment, social vulnerability and health in Europe (pp. 267–280). London: Springer Verlag.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Willis, P. E. (1977). Learning to labour: How working class kids get working class jobs. Farnborough: Saxon House.Google Scholar
  78. Wright, T. A., & Cropanzano, R. (2000). Psychological well-being and job satisfaction as predictors of job performance. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 5(1), 84–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Group TOR, Department of SociologyVrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium

Personalised recommendations