By Elizabeth Jasprizza
Men At Work (image credit: Sean MacEntee - Flickr Creative Commons)
Unemployment is a key factor in men’s health as one of the social determinants of health alongside transport, education, food and income. Unemployment can have a devastating effect on a man’s dignity, self worth and how he feels as a man, his intrinsic manliness or masculinity and has the capacity to also affect his relationships with family and friends.
Unemployment impinges on men’s sense of personal identity so essential to self esteem, and for some men the source of this is their trade, their job or their profession. Without employment men may feel worthless, as an employed person they spend large amounts of time at work and enjoy the socialising aspect of being in work.
Unemployment, male (% of male labor force) in Australia was reported at 5.711 % in 2016, according to the World Bank collection of development indicators, compiled from officially recognised sources.
A working role or occupation i.e. employment, provides a man with more than just an income, it is often central to his identity and gives him a feeling of worth, status, security, and structure in his life. It is within the workplace that many men develop a sense of purpose and often form close friendships. This demonstrates the importance of the social interaction and societal inclusion within a workforce.
Unemployment diminishes these positive factors and affects how men see themselves in the society and community in which they live. In that sense unemployment can be a contributor to poor health or a lack of wellbeing for men because of the imbalance in their lives due to being out of work, and possibly losing communication, a sense of belonging and community for men.
Employment therefore is a positive social determinant of health and can be seen as a very real factor in maintaining a balance of health and wellbeing for men.