The Experience of Well-being Following Job Loss: A Case Study

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Title: The Experience of Well-being Following Job Loss: A Case Study
Authors: Synard, Jacqueline
Date: 2016
Abstract: Positive psychology has significantly advanced our understanding of well-being, yet there remains a need to better understand the how, what, and why of both positive and negative well-being. This study combined positive psychology and job loss perspectives to investigate the subjective experience of well-being following job loss. Using a qualitative-focused case study methodology, this three article dissertation explored the experiences of 20 workers who were displaced from the Ottawa, Canada technology sector from 2000-2006. The first article explored the experience of well-being from a bottom-up, naturalistic point of view and compared these inductive notions with existing a priori theories. Findings support integrated conceptualizations of hedonia and eudaimonia, while also potentially identifying new notions of well-being. Identified themes include (a) life evaluation, (b) transitory experiencing, (c) growth and grounding, (d) environmental mastery/stability, (e) mental ill-being/ill-health, and (f) motivational mindsets/conditions. This study showed well-being to be a rich, pluralistic construct. It included the non-dualistic notions of both subjectivity and objectivity, as well as encompassing notions related to the what and how of well-being. The second and third articles present inductively derived themes which helped to explain the relationship between job loss and well-being (i.e., the how and why). Three externally focused themes were reported in the second article: (a) systemic factors (e.g., broader business environment), (b) interpersonal factors (e.g., social support), and (c) chance (e.g., luck and serendipity). The third article identified two internally focused major themes: (a) differential coping responses and processes and (b) protective and sensitizing processes. Coping specifically consisted of problem-focused coping, meaning-making, attitudes and expectancies, behavioural processes, and emotional processes. Protective and sensitizing processes included identity and self-esteem, the impact of past adversity, and personal resources and characteristics. Implications for theory, research, and practice for both positive psychology and job loss are discussed. Keywords: positive psychology, job loss, unemployment, qualitative research, case study, hedonia, eudaimonia, coping, meaning, meaning-making, resilience, post-traumatic growth, social support, relationships, theory, processes
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/35246
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-204
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -
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