Dealing with the Effects of Unemployment on Families

Dealing with the Effects of  Unemployment on Families
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The effects of unemployment on families are generally varied but also universally negative. Particularly, it is the family’s economic security which is heavily impacted once parents or the breadwinners of the family lose their job. Consequently, the loss of economic security is just the tip of the iceberg.

Loss of Economic Security and Its Impacts

The primary effect of job loss or unemployment on families is the reduction in the financial capacity of the family. That is, the family loses

the ability to purchase things they otherwise would have been able to procure before. The loss of economic security in families may be observed in the way they cut back on food expenditures, transfer houses, and even rely heavily on government support. Consequently, it is not just the family’s financial ability that gets affected. Unemployment also can also affect family members emotionally, physically, and psychologically. In some cases, it also affects marital affairs and can lead to divorce. Mishaps in the marital affairs of the parents can heavily impact the mental health and welfare of the children. A closer inspection of these effects can further demonstrate the impact of unemployment on families.

Reliance on Government Support or Welfare Programs

Unemployment generally restricts or reduces the family’s economic resources. Specifically, the family loses its ability to properly avail sufficient food resources, good housing, high quality education, adequate clothing, and even safe and nurturing living conditions. If the family loses such capacities, their ability to grow and develop is impeded. Accordingly, it’s been established that reduced income and working hours increase the family’s tendency to rely on third-party support or assistance. In most cases, the family becomes heavily dependent on government welfare programs and grants. Although welfare programs intend to help families and individuals, increased dependence on such is also related to lower academic accomplishment in children. However, this may not always be the case.

Parental Relationship and Psychological Effects

FreeDigitalPhotos, holding hands, Michelle Meiklejohn

Unemployment also has its effects on the parents. Often, job loss and prolonged unemployment can psychologically stress parents. Stressed parents most of the time lose their emotional warmth and can become extremely detached from their children. The increase in erratic behaviors significantly affects the children’s ability to grow and develop. If the parents become detached, they also lose touch in their responsibility to nurture their offspring. Ineffective parenting has its specific effects on the emotional adjustment of the child. Additionally, a child’s opinion or thoughts on his or her economic future is often referenced to the current situation of the parents. The way a child perceives his or her own future affects the way he performs in school. Consequently, his attitudes and behavior toward unemployment and job loss are also affected in the way his parents react and behave toward such conditions.

There are cases wherein children tend to work harder in school to avoid the same fate as their parents. Others simply have the same pessimistic attitude toward working.

The effects of unemployment on families are extremely profound. In most cases, job loss negatively affects the financial and emotional condition of the family. Thus, there is the increased emphasis on strengthening familial relationships in such conditions.


Kalil, A. Unemployment and job displacement: The impact on families and children. The Ivey Journal, at

Image Credits:, wish, by graur codrin, holding hands, by Michelle Meiklejohn