Self‑Perceived Interpersonal Problems Among Long‑Term Unemployed Individuals, and Vocational Rehabilitation Programs (In) ability to Change Them

Martin Riis Mau, K K Roessler, Lotte Nygaard Andersen, Maria Louison Vang

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Objective: Self-perceived interpersonal problems can challenge one's access to the work market, making it harder to attain and keep a job while adding to the distress of being outside of the labor market.

Methods: In this study, we compared the self-perceived interpersonal problems among long-term unemployed individuals taking part in vocational rehabilitation programs (VRPs) (N = 220) with those of the general population. In addition, we examined whether their self-perceived interpersonal problems changed while taking part in the VRPs.

Results: We found that participants report significantly higher levels of self-perceived interpersonal problems as measured by the Inventory of Interpersonal Problems (IIP), especially with regard to feeling cold/distanced, socially inhibited, vindictive/self-centered, and non-assertive. The participants did not report a significant decrease in self-perceived interpersonal problems after being part of VRPs for one year.

Conclusion: These results are relevant as they may inform interventions targeted this population aimed at increasing employability and/or individual well-being. Importantly, the findings may be viewed as a reflection of both social and individual processes. Long-term unemployed individuals' tendency to feel insufficiently engaged may reflect difficulty with keeping up with a job market in constant change.
TidsskriftJournal of Occupational Rehabilitation
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 2024