Featured Research

Fathers’ unemployment impacts on their adult children’s mental health

27 June 2018

This article was originally published in November 2017.

Life Course Centre researcher Dr Jack Lam, along with ISSR colleague Dr Christopher Ambrey, has published a new paper in the Journals of Gerontology: Social Sciences on the long-felt impacts a father’s unemployment may have on his children’s mental health and job-satisfaction.

The authors examined the impacts of early-life adversity on individuals, and specifically where there had been instances of paternal unemployment. The impacts of unemployment, referred to as ‘scarring’, may be transferred to the next generation, becoming apparent in that child’s later life. To examine this, Lam and Ambrey used 15 waves of data from HILDA (Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia), a nationally representative, longitudinal study.

They found that father’s unemployment resulted in lower levels of mental health for their children, even as far as into the child’s mid-life years.

They also found that fathers’ unemployment was associated with their children’s lower job-security satisfaction in middle life. Job-security satisfaction is linked to improved mental health, therefore Lam and Ambrey suggest that improving job security may protect the mental health of older adults.

Read their full article, here.