Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

James D. Werbel


Job loss literature has tended to focus on the negative impact that job loss frequently has on the individual, while largely ignoring how people respond to or cope with the experience. The purpose of this study was to: (a) examine the coping resources that people have available when they become unemployed as possible determinants of the subsequent coping strategies they select, and (b) determine if certain coping strategies are more effective in dealing with job loss (i.e. lead to earlier re-employment) than others. Coping strategies were hypothesized to act as a mediating variable between coping resources and employment outcomes. Coping resources included: health, internal locus of control, self-efficacy, social support, social skills, problem-solving skills, material resources, and organizational support. Subjects were volunteers (n = 126) visiting one location of the Louisiana Office of Employment Security who had been unemployed less than one month. Time 1 questionnaires measured the eight coping resources. Followup questionnaires mailed one month later used Lazarus and Folkman's Ways of Coping Checklist to measure coping strategies. New job information was also obtained from subjects who had become re-employed. Subjects still unemployed at Time 2 were sent a third questionnaire (identical to the second) one month later. Factor analysis of the Ways of Coping Checklist suggested two coping factors: positive coping and negative coping. Regression analysis was used to test the overall model and individual hypotheses. Results provided no evidence that coping strategies (positive coping and negative coping) acted as a mediating variable between coping resources and employment outcomes. Self-efficacy was the sole significant predictor of employment status at the end of the study, a direct relation not predicted by the model. Supplementary data analysis indicated that social support and positive coping were significantly correlated with new job satisfaction for those (n = 45) employed by the end of the study. Discussion of results includes implications for practitioners, with emphasis on ways to increase job loss victims' self-efficacy.