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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The experience of unemployment of social assistance recipients Klein, Hal


An exploratory study was conducted to discover significant events and the feelings attached to these events during the experience of unemployment of social assistance recipients. Twenty social assistance recipients were interviewed. The subjects ranged in age from 25 to 44 and there were 11 females and 9 males. The phenomenological/critical incident methodology adapted by Borgen and Amundson (1984) was used. It was found that this group had an unemployment experience that could be best described as a "flat" experience with relatively few highs and a continual, pervasive string of lows. The most prominent critical incident was financial pressures and this factor seemed to dominate the experience of the great majority of respondents. Their experience was characterized by a continual struggle to financially meet survival needs, pessimism around job search, low self esteem and a battery of negative feelings around being on welfare. The results of this study will hopefully assist counsellors in understanding the experience of unemployment of social assistance recipients and lead to more effective therapeutic interventions for this population.

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