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displaced worker's quality of life that is not well understood. This raises
the question of what happens to workers' and their families' quality of life
that goes beyond financial difficulties. The overall consequences of job
loss are becoming more important due to the unpredictability of the
longer-term prospects for economic recovery.
Other studies, including work by Grusky (2011) and colleagues, have
addressed various dimensions of the economic downturn, but far less is
known about its broader QoL consequences. For example, unemploy-
ment statistics are cited almost daily in the media, but very little is
reported about how displaced workers' self-esteem, goals, and values are
affected by the economic downturn.
Bohen & Viveros-Long (1981) wrote about how the quality of work
life (QWL) was related to the overall well-being of displaced Federal gov-
ernment employees and their families. It described how, along with finan-
cial compensation, the work environment also contributed positively to
workers' intellectual, physical, and social well-being. A report by the
Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index (WBI) ( Gallup Well-Being, 2012 )
also describes how the 2009 economic downturn affected the well-being
of millions of Americans after losing their jobs. Many displaced workers
observed that the loss of workplace benefits was almost as distressing as
leaving the workforce. The WBI is composed of a combination of six
attributes of life: Life Evaluation, Emotional Health, Basic Access,
Physical Health, Work Environment, and Healthy Behavior. The WBI
measure had been fairly stable during the previous year. It went from a
high of 67.0 to a low of 63.3, and by the end of the year had declined
overall by 8.2%.
The WBI saw the greatest decline in the Life Evaluation attribute of
QoL domains. The index indicated that the greatest long-term concern
was in the decrease in Healthy Behaviors. Another finding in the study
was evidence of declining trends in attributes described as Thriving,
Struggling, or Suffering. The data suggested that people are experiencing
the economic downturn in more personal ways than previously realized.
Changes in these well-being measures were found to be associated with
how people have become increasingly concerned about their overall men-
tal, social, and physical health, along with their negative financial outlook
for the future.
As a multidisciplinary concept, QoL may gain increased attention
during the recent economic downturn as a generic measure. It may also
appropriate indicators of multidisciplinary and integrative
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