November 28, 2011

APA Applauds Proposed Legislation to Address Psychological Impacts of Unemployment

WASHINGTON—The American Psychological Association applauds Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., for reintroducing legislation to reduce the psychological toll of unemployment in tough economic times.

The National Commission on Employment and Economic Security Act, introduced Nov. 18, would establish a commission to provide recommendations to Congress and the president on how to reduce psychological effects of unemployment.

“We need to understand the psychological toll unemployment takes on individuals, especially during these tough economic times,” said Gwendolyn Puryear Keita, PhD, APA executive director for public interest. “Often overlooked is the impact unemployment has on families, communities and coworkers who remain on the job. Psychologists have research-based programs to help job seekers with skills to promote re-employment, to receive social support and to combat feelings of depression, helplessness and anxiety. APA shares this critical research with lawmakers and the public to help create policies that address hidden consequences of unemployment and improve our nation’s health.”

As of September 2011, the nation’s unemployment rate was 9.1 percent. The rates for teenagers, blacks and Hispanics are even higher than the national average. APA’s 2010 Stress in America survey found the most frequently cited sources of stress for Americans were money (76 percent), work (70 percent) and the economy (65 percent).

Last month, APA hosted a congressional briefing on the benefits of work, the psychological effects of unemployment and the importance of social support while job hunting. The briefing featured APA member Richard Price, PhD, from the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. Other members of the interdisciplinary briefing panel included, economist Arthur Goldsmith, PhD, of Washington and Lee University; Denny Abbott of Workforce Alliance; and Teresa Riddick of Jubilee Jobs in Washington, D.C.

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world’s largest association of psychologists. APA’s membership includes more than 154,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare.