Positive and negative impacts of job loss on family life: the perceptions of Australian car workers


This article contributes to research on the impact of job loss on families. It is based on survey responses from 371 workers and in‑depth interviews with 39 of them about the family impacts of their job loss from the Mitsubishi car factory in Adelaide in 2004‑2005. A majority of workers said family life had been affected by their job loss. Quantitative analysis identified four variables significantly associated with family impacts: marital status, children living at home, employment status and financial management. Qualitative responses showed the predominantly negative impacts were financial strain, loss of relationship stability, and general stress and worry, although few faced catastrophic impacts from their job loss. However, in contrast to most previous research, the in‑depth interviews also revealed positive impacts from job loss, such as having more time at home and to spend with their family. We conclude that the existence of ongoing income support and public health insurance in Australia were important in avoiding catastrophic financial impacts on these workers and their families.The authors acknowledge support from the National Health and Medical Research Council Capacity Building Grant (324724). The research was also supported by the SA Department of Health and the SA Department of Families and Communities through the Human Services Research and Innovation Program (HSRIP), and the Australian Research Council Linkage Program (LP0562288), with the Department of Health serving as Industry Partner. Professor Fran Baum was supported by an ARC Federation Fellowship and Drs Newman and Ziersch by the SA Premier’s Science and Research Fund

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