Volume 44, Issue 4 p. 13-23

Economic Recession and Mental Health: Some Conceptual Issues

Marie Jahoda

Corresponding Author

Marie Jahoda

University of Sussex

MARIE JAHODA is Professor Emeritus of Social Psychology at the University of Sussex. She was president of SPSSI in 1952–1953. From 1945 to 1958 she lived in New York, and for most of that period she was a Professor at New York University. Among her many publications, her first book (with P. F. Lazarsfeld & H. J. Zeisel), Marienthal, the Sociography of an Unemployed Community, appeared in 1933; her last, Employment and Unemployment: A Social Psychological Analysis, appeared in 1982.

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First published: Winter 1988
Citations: 94


The greatest burden of economic recession falls on the unemployed. Research in this area has resulted in a general consensus that the large majority of the unemployed are psychologically impaired. From the voluminous relevant literature, three conceptual issues are singled out for discussion: the research style—that is, the dominant questions investigated and the corresponding research procedures; explanations for the mental state of the unemployed and the role of theory; and the concept of mental health as involving more than the absence of mental illness.