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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The lived experience of long-term unemployment among middle-aged managerial-level U.S. males: A phenomenological study
by Szuhay, Daniel S., Psy.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2015, 92; 3682382
Abstract (Summary)

Unemployment has been shown to have detrimental effects on the physical, psychological, and emotional health of unemployed men and women living in the United States. The purpose of this study was study the impact of long-term unemployment on a specific population of unemployed individuals, namely middle-aged, managerial-level U.S. males who had been involuntarily terminated from their employment.

This study found four main themes and subthemes related to the phenomenon. First, it was uncovered that the men had a shared Premonition of their eventual job loss. The second theme, Effects of Separation, detailed shared emotional, psychological, and physical effects the experience of being involuntarily separated and living through long-term unemployment had on the men. The symptoms presented in this study were categorized in subthemes of Initial Distress, Long-Term Distress, Duration of Distress, the Impact of Loss of Structure/Routine, Identity Changes, and at times some of the participants Switched to a Second-Person Narration.

The third theme, Coping with Unemployment, discussed shared strategies the men utilized to cope with their long-term unemployment experience including Retrospective Coping, Talking about the Experience Helps, Helping Others, Building Hope, and Understanding the Context of Unemployment: Age Discrimination, a subtheme that includes some participants' fears of age discrimination in their job search. The fourth and final main theme, Not Ready to Retire, noted how each of these men felt that he was not ready to retire—all five participants wanted an opportunity to work again for a variety of different reasons beyond just earning an income.

Additionally, this study explores how midlife can present itself as an opportunity for one to become more generative in the world. Unemployment can signify the beginning of a midlife crisis that ultimately may result in a re-imagining of self and re-orientation in the world. Finally, the study details ways in which this research was a result of an inspiration: an imaginal figure, Pirate, who introduced this area of research and continued to guide and inform the work throughout its completion.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Yakushko, Oksana
Commitee: Kalter, Robert, Stein, Murry
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
Department: Clinical Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 76/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Counseling Psychology, Clinical psychology
Keywords: Involuntary separation, Management, Middle-age, Midlife crisis, U.s. males, Unemployment
Publication Number: 3682382
ISBN: 978-1-321-55802-9
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