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Mental health outcomes for unemployed individuals who attend occupational skills / personal development training programs

By Peter A Creed

Abstract

Four studies report on outcomes for long-term unemployed individuals who attend\ud occupational skills/personal development training courses in Australia. Levels of\ud distress, depression, guilt, anger, helplessness, positive and negative affect, life\ud satisfaction and self esteem were used as measures of well-being. Employment\ud value, employment expectations and employment commitment were used as\ud measures of work attitude. Social support, financial strain, and use of community\ud resources were used as measures of life situation. Other variables investigated were\ud causal attribution, unemployment blame, levels of coping, self efficacy, the\ud personality variable of neuroticism, the psycho-social climate of the training course,\ud and changes to occupational status. Training courses were (a) government funded\ud occupational skills-based programs which included some components of personal\ud development training, and (b) a specially developed course which focused\ud exclusively on improving well-being, and which utilised the cognitive-behavioural\ud therapy (CBT) approach. Data for all studies were collected longitudinally by\ud having subjects complete questionnaires pre-course, post-course, and (for 3 of the 4\ud studies) at 3 months follow-up, in order to investigate long-term effects. One of the\ud studies utilised the case-study methodology and was designed to be illustrative and\ud assist in interpreting the quantitative data from the other 3 evaluations. The\ud outcomes for participants were contrasted with control subjects who met the same\ud sel~tion criteria for training. Results confirmed earlier findings that the experiences\ud of unemployment were negative. Immediate effects of the courses were to improve\ud well-being. Improvements were greater for those who attended courses with higher\ud levels of personal development input, and the best results were obtained from the\ud specially developed CBT program. Participants who had lower levels of well-being\ud at the beginning of the courses did better as a result of training than those who were\ud already functioning at higher levels. Course participants gained only marginal\ud advantages over control subjects in relation to improving their occupational status.\ud Many of the short term well-being gains made as a result of attending the courses\ud were still evident at 3 months follow-up. Best results were achieved for the specially\ud designed CBT program. Results were discussed in the context of prevailing theories\ud of Ynemployment (Fryer, 1986,1988; Jahoda, 1981, 1982; Warr, 1987a, 1987b)

Topics: Mental health, Occupational training, Unemployed, thesis, doctoral
Publisher: Queensland University of Technology
Year: 1995
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.qut.edu.au:35859

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