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Unemployment, Employability and COVID19: How the Global Socioeconomic Shock Challenged Negative Perceptions Toward the Less Fortunate in the Australian Context

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-24, 03:22 authored by A Suomi, TP Schofield, P Butterworth
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.

History

Journal

Frontiers in Psychology

Volume

11

Article number

ARTN 594837

Pagination

1-10

Location

Lausanne, Switzerland

ISSN

1664-1078

eISSN

1664-1078

Language

English

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Publisher

Frontiers Media