Experiences, coping and well-being of unemployed people in the North-West Province
Unemployment and the economic and psychological consequences thereof are important research topics. Although unemployment is a world-wide problem, it is particularly a problem in South Africa with its high unemployment rate. Not only is unemployment associated with various individual problems (e.g. physical ill health, hostility, depression, social isolation, and a decrease in self-esteem, life satisfaction, aspiration level), family problems (spousal abuse, marital friction, depression in the spouse, family conflict, and child abuse), and community problems (e.g. crime), but it is also stressful for job seekers, because it complicates job search, and it diminishes the likelihood of finding reemployment. People need to work in order to fulfill their basic needs and to be part of society, which in turn leads to satisfaction and motivation. Work also provides meaning in a person's life. Therefore, research regarding experiences, coping mechanisms and job application behaviour of unemployed people is needed to plan and implement policies and programmes to assist them. The objective of this study was to investigate the experiences, coping mechanisms and job application behaviour and well-being of unemployed people in the North West Province. A cross-sectional survey design was used. Stratified, random samples (N = 381) were taken from the White, Black; and Coloured communities in the Potchefstroom area. The Experiences of Unemployment Questionnaire (EUQ), which was developed for the purposes of this study, was administered. Descriptive statistics were used to analyse the data. The results showed that participants experienced unemployment as very unpleasant. These experiences indicate how these people feel when unemployed hence on the study unemployed people feel bored, lonely and empty. Participants reported that they cannot survive financially and this impacts on their well-being. Well-being in this instance is defined as a state of being happy and healthy and if people cannot survive financially, then they are not happy and it results in decreased self-worth. Work is regarded as important, people felt badly at the thought of being unemployed and they argued that it was important to be employed. The . results also showed that work held meaning for unemployed people. Most of the respondents reported that they would like to find a job within a month in order to survive. The difficulty. people experience in finding work was attributed to too little available work, to employers! not hiring the ethnic groups of the 'respondents and to being unemployed for too long, In the study, job search behaviour and job application behaviour are both related to coping with unemployment because according to the current study unemployed people applied job search behaviour by enquiring if work is available, by searching for advertisements as well as by presenting themselves to the employers.