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Temporal dimensions of unemployment and relationship happiness in the United Kingdom

Temporal dimensions of unemployment and relationship happiness in the United Kingdom
Temporal dimensions of unemployment and relationship happiness in the United Kingdom
Here we study how unemployment is related to partner relationship happiness in the United Kingdom. We investigate multiple dimensions of unemployment—current unemployment, changes in unemployment, duration of unemployment, and past unemployment—each of which provides unique insights into how economic uncertainty can strain relationships. Not including these aspects potentially leads to an underestimation of the long-term effect of unemployment and times when couples are especially affected. Using British longitudinal data (UK Household Longitudinal Study), we employ random and fixed regression analyses. The results highlight the gendered nature of relationships and employment within British couples. As found in previous studies, unemployment, particularly men’s unemployment, is associated with unhappier relationships. However, we find that over the long-run, relationship happiness declined and did not always recover. In addition, men’s re-employment did not solve problems rising from unemployment, especially for women, who continued to be less happy with the relationship when their male partner was unemployed in the recent past. Overall, the research showed that unemployment is not only related to relationship happiness at the time of unemployment, but had a scarring effect on relationship happiness.
0266-7215
Blom, Niels
86fa14cb-1402-453f-a01c-3c919925baae
Perelli-Harris, Brienna
9d3d6b25-d710-480b-8677-534d58ebe9ed
Blom, Niels
86fa14cb-1402-453f-a01c-3c919925baae
Perelli-Harris, Brienna
9d3d6b25-d710-480b-8677-534d58ebe9ed

Blom, Niels and Perelli-Harris, Brienna (2020) Temporal dimensions of unemployment and relationship happiness in the United Kingdom. European Sociological Review. (doi:10.1093/esr/jcaa044).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Here we study how unemployment is related to partner relationship happiness in the United Kingdom. We investigate multiple dimensions of unemployment—current unemployment, changes in unemployment, duration of unemployment, and past unemployment—each of which provides unique insights into how economic uncertainty can strain relationships. Not including these aspects potentially leads to an underestimation of the long-term effect of unemployment and times when couples are especially affected. Using British longitudinal data (UK Household Longitudinal Study), we employ random and fixed regression analyses. The results highlight the gendered nature of relationships and employment within British couples. As found in previous studies, unemployment, particularly men’s unemployment, is associated with unhappier relationships. However, we find that over the long-run, relationship happiness declined and did not always recover. In addition, men’s re-employment did not solve problems rising from unemployment, especially for women, who continued to be less happy with the relationship when their male partner was unemployed in the recent past. Overall, the research showed that unemployment is not only related to relationship happiness at the time of unemployment, but had a scarring effect on relationship happiness.

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Accepted/In Press date: 24 August 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 24 November 2020

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 446960
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/446960
ISSN: 0266-7215
PURE UUID: 638afb5a-4418-4410-9d1a-6bf265b9c2e3
ORCID for Niels Blom: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-0742-4554
ORCID for Brienna Perelli-Harris: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-8234-4007

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 26 Feb 2021 17:37
Last modified: 13 Dec 2021 03:31

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