Science and Tech


Are Americans More Depressed Than Europeans After Job Loss?

A new study suggests Americans are more likely than Europeans to become depressed after losing a job.
Posted at 1:11 PM, Jun 19, 2014

For many people, losing a job can be extremely difficult. And according to researchers, the strain can often lead to depression. (Via Wikimedia Commons / Sander van der Wel)

And a new study shows Americans are much more likely to feel the weight of unemployment compared to our counterparts in Europe. 

KRIV points out the findings are particularly true for workers over 50 years old and for those who lose a job due to plant closure.  

When it came to overall impact, the findings revealed a 4.8 percent increase in depression for Americans who suffered a job loss compared to 3.4 percent for Europeans. (Via Medical News Today

Which might not seem like a lot, but when looking at job loss due to plant closure, the numbers were much different, with a 28.8 percent increase in the U.S. and just 7.5 percent in Europe.

To get the results, the researchers looked at 38,000 people in the U.S. and 13 European counties by studying surveys conducted between 2004 and 2010. (Via Wikimedia Commons / Stefan Ertmann)

According to the study's leader, one reason for the results could be because in wealthier countries like the U.S., the impact is felt more heavily than for people with little or no wealth. (Via International Journal of Epidemiology, HealthDay

Another possible reason — safety nets. For instance, "social protection programs in European countries, which might be 'buffering the impact of job loss among less wealthy workers and their families.'"

CBS points out the link between depression and job loss for Americans is nothing new. Back in 2009, when a record number of Americans were on unemployment, the network talked to a medical analyst who explained the connection. 

"Specifically people who are providing for the family start questioning and doubting themselves that, 'Here I am, supposed to be supporting everybody, and I can't do my job.' I think that can be very damaging." 

When it comes to this most recent study, researchers say they need to do further studies on the reasons behind the disparity.