a1 Department of Psychology, Goodmayes Hospital, Ilford, Department of Psychology, University of Glasgow
Interviews were conducted with 49 men just after they had become unemployed, and with a matched sample of 49 employed men. Follow-up interviews took place 6–8 months later. At follow-up 20 originally unemployed men were still without work, and were significantly more depressed than the employed. Five of these 20, but no employed men, had become clinically depressed. In a multiple regression analysis there was a significant employment × social support interaction which indicated that depression scores at follow-up were higher in those who remained unemployed and who had little social contact with others in the month before losing their jobs. Depression becomes likely when people lose a source of social interaction that is important to their sense of worth, and have no alternative means of experiencing this worth in other relationships.
c1 Address for correspondence: Dr Winifred Bolton, Psychology Department, Goodmayes Hospital, Ilford, Essex.