A Family Affair: Job Loss and the Mental Health of Spouses and Adolescents

53 Pages Posted: 3 Dec 2014  

Melisa Bubonya

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research

Deborah A. Cobb-Clark

School of Economics, University of Sydney; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Mark Wooden

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 2014

Abstract

This study examines the impact of involuntary job loss on the mental health of family members. Estimates from fixed-effects panel data models, using panel data for Australia, provide little evidence of any negative spillover effect on the mental health of husbands as a result of their wives’ job loss. The mental well-being of wives, however, declines following their husbands’ job loss, but only if that job loss results in a sustained period of nonemployment or if the couple experienced financial hardship or relationship strain prior to the husband’s job loss. A negative effect of parental job loss on the mental health of co-resident adolescent children is also found, but appears to be restricted to girls.

Keywords: Unemployment, involuntary job loss, mental health, families, spouses, adolescents, HILDA Survey

JEL Classification: I31, J10, J65

Suggested Citation

Bubonya, Melisa and Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. and Wooden, Mark, A Family Affair: Job Loss and the Mental Health of Spouses and Adolescents (November 2014). Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 23/14. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2532754 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2532754

Melisa Bubonya

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research ( email )

Level 5, FBE Building, 111 Barry Street
Parkville, 3010
Australia

Deborah A. Cobb-Clark

School of Economics, University of Sydney ( email )

Rm 370 Merewether (H04)
Sydney, NSW 2006 2008
Australia

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Mark Wooden (Contact Author)

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research ( email )

Level 5, FBE Building, 111 Barry Street
Parkville, Victoria 3010
Australia

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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