The psychological impact of industrial strikes: Does involvement in union activity during strikes make a difference?
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The current study investigated the psychological impact of a United Steelworkers of America strike on the steelworkers involved, and the relationship between psychological well-being and individuals' levels of involvement in union activity during the strike. Three hundred and fifty-one steelworkers (302 `strikers' and 49 `non-strikers') completed surveys measuring a range of demographic and psychological well-being variables. Strikers, compared to non-strikers, reported higher levels of depression, anxiety, and irritation, and lower levels of mental health. For strikers, engaging in higher levels of union activity during the strike was associated with better psychological well-being. Jahoda's theory of deprivation during unemployment is used as the lens through which to explain some of the results, supporting the view that latent benefits associated with work are important for psychological well-being. A range of practical implications are offered for unions and their members.
Journal of Industrial Relations
© 2009 Industrial Relations Society of Australia. This is the author-manuscript version of the paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
Industrial and Organisational Psychology