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There is renewed interest in the use of qualitative methods in the unemployment research arena to provide a richer understanding of the unemployment experience. This study is designed to investigate the effects of long-term unemployment on psychological well-being, sex differences and the effects of participating in 'activity' using a case study methodology. Findings from ten semi-structured interviews with people, unemployed between 12 and 36 months, showed that psychological distress, depression and life satisfaction were the most affected psychological variables. Financial difficulties also have a major impact on psychological well-being. The social policy implications from this study suggest that women may have different needs in relation to employment assistance due to their personal and family circumstances, and that unemployment policies may need to address some psychological variables and financial difficulties more directly. Future studies in this area are recommended to explore these issues further.
This document has been peer reviewed.