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J Appl Psychol. 1989 Oct;74(5):759-69.

Job seeking, reemployment, and mental health: a randomized field experiment in coping with job loss.


Cognitive theories of adherence to difficult courses of action and findings from previous survey research on coping with a major life event--job loss--were used to generate a preventive intervention, tested by a randomized field experiment. The aim was to prevent poor mental health and loss of motivation to seek reemployment among those who continued to be unemployed and to promote high-quality reemployment. Ss were 928 recently unemployed adults from southeastern Michigan, representing a broad range of demographic characteristics; they were randomly assigned to either the experimental or control condition. The experimental intervention included training in job seeking with a problem-solving process emphasizing inoculation against setbacks and positive social reinforcement. A pretest was administered, followed by posttests 1 and 4 months after the experiment. The experimental condition yielded higher quality reemployment in terms of earnings and job satisfaction, and higher motivation among those who continued to be unemployed.

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