An Alternative Relationship to Unemployment: Conceptualizing Unemployment Normalization

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Abstract

Unemployment is widely described as a situation that engenders stress, malaise, and a loss of identity for those affected by it. Whereas the deleterious effects of unemployment are clear, people may also develop an alternative relationship to unemployment and hold other perceptions of this transition period. Some studies have indeed pointed toward a shift in the social work norm, whereas others have questioned the negative impact of unemployment on some individuals. Yet to date, few studies have directly focused on the process through which these other, less negative perceptions of unemployment may arise. The present article thus explores one possible experience that we have termed unemployment normalization. We conceptualize unemployment normalization as an emotional regulation process based on cognitive reappraisal. This article suggests some variables that may influence it and presents a roadmap for future research.

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