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A cross sectional quantitative study on the psychological consequences of unemployment on the employed class in KwaZulu-Natal Toll Industry Northern Region, South Africa.

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South Africa has experienced one of the highest unemployment rate since September 2003 in the second quarter of 2017, with an official unemployment rate of 27.7% and an expanded rate of 36.6%. The current unemployment rate has left many people dependent on a single income stream, placing immense pressure on the family’s sole provider, impacting the mental, emotional states, and overall wellbeing of the employed. Hence this cross-sectional quantitative study investigated the psychological consequences of unemployment on the working class in the KwaZuluNatal Toll Industry Northern Region by examining the mental wellbeing of the employed arising from unemployment; effects of unemployment on the employed stress, anxiety, and depression levels and the morale of the employed. The social norm, crossover and spill-over theories were used to help explain this phenomenon. A questionnaire comprising of 34 questions was developed based on the research undertaken for the literature review in understanding the relationships of the dependent variables and independent variable used to investigate the phenomena. The questionnaire was self-administered to a total of 147 participants identified using probability stratified sampling to achieve a 99% confidence level and maintain a 5% error margin for the KwaDukuza and uMlalazi regions which have varying unemployment rates. Overall unemployment was found to create mental strain on employed individuals that are in a relationship with an unemployed person, detrimental to the confidence levels of previously unemployed individuals, elevate levels of stress, anxiety and depression of the employed, adversely affect the morale of the employed through interdomain spill-over which was found to have a knock-on-effect on work performance and productivity. The intensity of the unemployment psychological effects varied for men and women in the different regions dependent on the unemployment rate. The proposed outcomes of this study maybe used to assist employed individuals, organisations and policy makers with pertinent information and insight for creating a better environment that will assist in minimising the psychological stresses experienced by the employed and increase overall productivity.


Masters of Degree. University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, Durban.