Differences in psychological and physical health among layoff survivors: the effect of layoff contact

J Occup Health Psychol. 2001 Jan;6(1):15-25. doi: 10.1037//1076-8998.6.1.15.


This study examined health and well-being among workers who have experienced varying types of contact with layoffs in an organization undergoing downsizing. Using survey data from a large organization employing both white- and blue-collar workers (N = 2,279), the authors argued that there are important differences among surviving workers as a function of their layoff experiences. Having any kind of personal contact with layoffs is found to be associated with less job security, more symptoms of poor health, depression, and eating changes as compared with having no layoff contact. Being laid off and rehired is associated with more work-related injuries and illnesses and missed work days due to such events than is receiving a "warn" notice, indirect contact (i.e., friends or coworkers laid off), or no contact with layoffs. Job security partially mediates the relationship between type of layoff contact experiences and health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Personnel Downsizing / psychology*
  • Personnel Downsizing / statistics & numerical data
  • Sampling Studies
  • Social Adjustment
  • Social Support
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Unemployment / psychology*