Job Seeking, Reemployment, and Mental Health: A Randomized Field Experiment in Coping With Job Loss

Robert D. Caplan, Amiram D. Vinokur, Richard H. Price, Michelle van Ryn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

274 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)759-769
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1989


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology

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