This paper reviews literature on the mental health effects of involuntary job loss among women. In addition, a prospective study of the effects of job loss on psychological distress in a cohort of blue-collar women is described. A total of 141 women, of whom 73 were laid off during the 12-month study period, were examined. The occurrence and duration of lay-off was significantly associated with increased depressive symptoms, but not anxiety-related symptoms, even after effects of pre-lay-off psychological symptoms, social supports and occupational stress were considered. There was no evidence that these effects of lay-off were moderated by other characteristics measured prior to lay-off. Among women who were laid off, those who reported poor levels of support from their husband or partner in the immediate aftermath of lay-off and those experiencing more financial difficulties during the lay-off had higher depression levels at follow-up. The nature of the lay-off as a chronic psychosocial stressor is discussed.