Unemployment has become an ever-present phenomenon across all countries. The financial crises in 2007 led to high unemployment figures worldwide the likes of which were last reported during the time of the Great Depression (i.e., the 1930’s). There is overwhelming evidence to date that unemployment alters people’s lives; it is detrimental to their physical and mental health, it can affect their leisure activities, their engagement in long-lasting relationships, but also their future employment prospects. Little systematic research has been conducted on the attitudes towards work and work behavior of people who have more or less successfully coped with former unemployment, i.e. the reemployed, which we focused on in a research projects. Details can be found in the German project report.

Changes in the labor market have not only made it more difficult for unemployed people to get re-employed but have also led more people to work under precarious or atypical working conditions. There is a further tendency that even currently employed people feel increasingly threatened by the risk of losing their jobs or valued work features which is referred to as job insecurity. Comparable to unemployment, job insecurity leads to poor mental health as indicated, for example, by strain, depression, and lower self-esteem. Our recent research primarily focuses on the economic and social boundary conditions explaining the perceptions but also reactions to job insecurity.

Selected publications

Garrido Vásquez, M. E., Kälin, W., Otto, K., Sadlowski, J., & Kottwitz, M. U. (2019). Do coworker conflicts enhance daily feelings of job insecurity: A diary study. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 68, 26-52. doi: 10.1111/apps.12157

Selenko, E., Berkers, H., Carter, A., Woods, S.A., Otto, K., Urbach, T., & De Witte, H. (2018). On the dynamics of work identity in atypical employment: Setting out a research agenda. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 27, 324-334. Available from: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1359432X.2018.1444605

Otto, K., Mohr, G., Kottwitz, M. U., & Korek, S. (2016). The joint impact of microeconomic parameters and job insecurity perceptions on commitment towards one’s job, occupation and career: A multilevel approach. Economic and Industrial Democracy, 37, 43-71. Available from: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0143831X14535822

Scheel, T., & Otto, K. (2016). Coping after job loss: Impact of unemployment on work attitudes of the reemployed. In A.-S. Antoniou & C. L. Cooper (Eds.), Coping, personality, & the workplace: Responding to psychological crisis and critical events (pp. 259-269). Farnham: Gower.

Otto, K., & Dalbert, C. (2013). Are insecure jobs as bad for mental health and occupational commitment as unemployment? Equal threat or downward spiral. Psihološka obzorja / Horizons of Psychology, 22, 27-38. Available from: http://psiholoska-obzorja.si/en/article?id=375