Differing effects of coping strategies on mental health during prolonged unemployment : A longitudinal analysis

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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  • Xiaowan Lin
  • Kwok Leung

Related Research Unit(s)


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)637-665
Journal / PublicationHuman Relations
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2010


A three-wave longitudinal design was used to examine the causal effects of two coping strategies in the context of prolonged unemployment, namely job search and distancing (i.e. emotional detachment from unemployment), on mental health and the duration of these effects. Two situational appraisals, namely economic hardship and unemployment negativity (i.e. perceived negativity of unemployment life) were found to influence both coping strategies and mental health. We confirmed that the negative effect of job search on mental health was primarily owing to the two situational appraisals, especially unemployment negativity. In contrast, the positive effect of distancing on mental health was significant, even after the situational appraisals were taken into account. In addition, the positive effect of distancing on mental health lasted longer than the negative effect of job search © The Author(s) 2010.

Research Area(s)

  • Coping, Distancing from unemployment, Job search, Mental health, Prolonged unemployment