Unemployment, employability and COVID19 : How the global socioeconomic shock challenged negative perceptions toward the less fortunate in the Australian context

Journal article


Suomi, Aino, Schofield, Timothy P. and Butterworth, Peter. (2020). Unemployment, employability and COVID19 : How the global socioeconomic shock challenged negative perceptions toward the less fortunate in the Australian context. Frontiers in Psychology. 11, p. 594837. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.594837
AuthorsSuomi, Aino, Schofield, Timothy P. and Butterworth, Peter
Abstract

Unemployed benefit recipients are stigmatized and generally perceived negatively in terms of their personality characteristics and employability. The COVID19 economic shock led to rapid public policy responses across the globe to lessen the impact of mass unemployment, potentially shifting community perceptions of individuals who are out of work and rely on government income support. We used a repeated cross-sections design to study change in stigma tied to unemployment and benefit receipt in a pre-existing pre-COVID19 sample (n = 260) and a sample collected during COVID19 pandemic (n = 670) by using a vignette-based experiment. Participants rated attributes of characters who were described as being employed, working poor, unemployed or receiving unemployment benefits. The results show that compared to employed characters, unemployed characters were rated substantially less favorably at both time points on their employability and personality traits. The difference in perceptions of the employed and unemployed was, however, attenuated during COVID19 with benefit recipients perceived as more employable and more Conscientious than pre-pandemic. These results add to knowledge about the determinants of welfare stigma highlighting the impact of the global economic and health crisis on perception of others.

KeywordsCOVID19; employability; personality; Big Five; public policy; unemployment
Year2020
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Journal citation11, p. 594837
PublisherFrontiers Media S.A.
ISSN1664-1078
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.594837
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85094642793
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range1-10
FunderAustralian Research Council (ARC)
Publisher's version
License
File Access Level
Open
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online15 Oct 2020
Publication process dates
Accepted22 Sep 2020
Deposited20 Aug 2021
ARC Funded ResearchThis output has been funded, wholly or partially, under the Australian Research Council Act 2001
Grant IDARC/DP16014178
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