Economic stressors and wellbeing at work

Multilevel considerations

Authored by: Tahira M. Probst , Robert R. Sinclair , Janelle H. Cheung

The Routledge Companion to Wellbeing at Work

Print publication date:  May  2017
Online publication date:  May  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138955943
eBook ISBN: 9781315665979
Adobe ISBN:


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The economic crisis of 2007–2008 was arguably one of the most important global threats to individual wellbeing of the last couple of decades. This crisis produced worldwide economic instability, leading to thousands of mass layoff events, increased long-term unemployment, and, among those fortunate to keep their jobs, greater uncertainty about their future employment prospects (Grusky, Western, & Wimer, 2011). Not surprisingly then, many studies link the recession to declines in physical and psychological wellbeing (Burgard & Kalousova, 2015; Frone, 2016; Modrek, Hamad, & Cullen, 2015; Piovani & Aydiner-Avasr, 2015; Van Hal, 2015). Although some research has associated recessions with some beneficial health outcomes (Burgard & Kalousova, 2015), recessions and the economic stressors they produce are generally regarded as an important threat to wellbeing. These threats are particularly strong for more vulnerable workers (e.g., unemployed, low income, older) as evidence suggests they have been more adversely affected by the recession (Eurofund, 2012). The Eurofund report also notes that in the aftermath of the recession, workers have become increasingly skeptical about the motives of their governments. Similar trends can be observed in the United States, where trust in government is close to an all-time low (Pew Research Center, 2013). Thus, the economic crisis can be viewed as a major societal event that not only resulted in short-term economic concerns but also lasting changes in perceptions of social institutions.

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