Date of Award

8-2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Applied Psychology

Advisor

Taylor, Mary Anne

Committee Member

Moore , DeWayne

Committee Member

Rosopa , Patrick

Committee Member

Switzer , Fred

Abstract

The loss of a job is a stressful life event that can cause people to lose economic stability, membership in a community, or a piece of their self-identity. Joblessness is an increasingly salient experience for American workers, as the national unemployment rate hovers between 8% and 9% (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2011). Existing research suggests that unemployment is related to decreased levels of wellbeing. In addition, there is support that job search behaviors are strongly related to self-esteem and that those behaviors can function as a coping mechanism to combat the stress experienced during unemployment.
In the current study, psychological variables associated with community embeddedness along with core self-evaluations were used as predictors of global stress and of unemployment stress. Additionally, these variables were used as predictors of job search behaviors inside and outside of one's community. Perceived employment opportunities were used as a moderator of this relationship.
Two hundred and twenty-six respondents at a Job Fair in the Southeast provided responses to a survey containing these variables. Confirmatory factor analysis was used to examine and refine the measures. Hierarchical regression was used to test the hypothesized relationships. Results suggest that there is a significant relationship between self efficacy and stress, as well as, employment opportunities and search behaviors. However, employment opportunities were not found to moderate the proposed relationships in the current study. Implications and limitations are discussed.

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