The toll of unemployment does not stop with the unemployed

Mina Westman*, Dalia Etzion, Shoshi Horovitz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


This study focuses on the crossover of state anxiety between spouses in working couples in Israel when one of them faces unemployment. We assessed state anxiety, financial hardship and social support for both spouses at two points in time, Participants were 113 unemployed people who came to the Academics Employment Exchange to apply for the 'unemployment grant'. They and their spouses completed questionnaires at the beginning (wave I) and end (wave 2) of the 2-month period for which they were entitled to the 'unemployment grant'. Findings demonstrate that on both occasions, the economic hardship was a positive predictor of anxiety for both the unemployed and their spouses and social support was inversely related to their anxiety. Furthermore, there was a significant bidirectional crossover effect of state anxiety from the unemployed to the spouse and from the spouse to the unemployed at both waves after controlling for all relevant variables. We concluded that prevention programs dealing with the unemployed should take into account the crossover process and incorporate actions for both spouses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)823-844
Number of pages22
JournalHuman Relations
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2004


  • Crossover
  • Economic hardship
  • Social support
  • State anxiety unemployment


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