Human rights and international law expert Professor Hilary Charlesworth, says that Australia's appointment to the UN Human Rights Council gives the country an opportunity to examine its own human rights record.
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Using data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey, the report found that when a man loses his job, his partner’s mental health is likely to take a significant dip. However, males registered no decline in their mental health rating and anxiety levels when a wife or female partner lost her job involuntarily.
Professor Mark Wooden, Director of the HILDA Survey and co-author of the report said that the impacts for female partners were exacerbated when her partner was in continual unemployment and the family was experiencing financial anxiety. “We also found, when looking at children 15-20 years of age, that sons are not at all distressed when either their father or mother loses their jobs.”
“However, daughters became distressed if their father loses his job, and even more anxious when their mother loses a job.”
“We think this could be indicative of stronger maternal bonds between mothers and daughters,” Professor Wooden said.
There has been little research into the affects of job loss on the mental wellbeing of other family members.
This report is the first in Australia to use longitudinal data to consider the ongoing mental health and wellbeing impacts within households which have experienced job loss.
“These are significant findings as employment plays a major role in driving mental health outcomes for a society.
There has been a lot of research looking into mental health impacts for people who lose their jobs, but very little into the mental wellbeing of their family members,” Professor Wooden said.