The acute economic downturn that began in 2008 sometimes is called the "mancession" to reflect its harsher impact on men than women. As recently as last November, over 10% of adult men were unemployed as compared to 8% of women. But how do unemployed men cope with their shifting domestic roles, especially when they become financially dependent on a wife or female partner?
Sociologist Ilana Demantas says, "It changes how men think of themselves. Usually men see themselves as supporters of the family, and since a lot of them are no longer able to do that alone on their income, they have to construct their identity in a new way to allow them to still think positively of themselves."
Young workers with certain characteristics may weather turbulent times better than their peers. Sociologist Jeylan Mortimer says, “The current ‘Great Recession’ in Europe and America has had particularly severe consequences for young workers. They suffer high unemployment rates with lasting consequences for their careers.” His study identifies three psychological orientations and behaviors that influence employment success during the transition to adulthood: educational aspirations, career goal certainty, and job search activities. He says, “The factors identified in this study are interrelated amongst themselves and also influence longer-term successes and vulnerabilities during difficult economic times.”
Sociologist Mike Vuolo agrees and says, "Although structural factors like industry, region, etc. are undoubtedly important, these three characteristics are found to be particularly significant career transition resources."
Meanwhile, Demantas says that, "Men's identities have changed. They're proud to contribute to the household, to make up for the work their wives are doing. Yet, they still maintain household authority, holding onto their identities as ‘men’ any way they can."
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