New research that examines the relationship between psychological factors, work-related factors and how people felt about their financial situation during the pandemic will be presented by York University researchers at the Happiness and Age Conference on Oct. 29.
Professor Esther Greenglass and lecturer Lisa Fiksenbaum, both of the Department of Psychology at York University, along with Daniel Chiacchia (Department of Management, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto), will present their paper “Financial Threat, Socio-economic Factors, and Employability During COVID-19” during the online event, which is part of the After the Pandemic conference series organized by the International Centre for Economical Analysis.
“COVID-19 has resulted not only in widespread illness and death, it has also upended most spheres of social life including the economic/financial one in that it has had large impacts on local economies, resulting in widespread job loss, job insecurity and loss of income,” said Greenglass. “This paper, which is based on empirical research with both Canadian and American participants recruited through MTurk, reports some of the financial effects on COVID-19 and their implications for psychological functioning.”
According to past research, say the authors, when people believe they can get another job if they lost their present one, they also experience less burnout at their present job. During the pandemic, however, many people lost jobs due to business closures. This resulted in feelings of anxiety and uncertainty about their current financial situation.
In the present research, the authors expected that feelings of anxiety and uncertainty about one’s financial situation would be less if people felt they could find another job if they lost their current one, if they felt secure in their present job and if they were confident in dealing with events in the financial sphere in general (self-efficacy). In order to examine these relationships, a self-report questionnaire with key measures was administered to participants from Canada (451) and the U.S. (429) using MTurk, a widely used means of recruiting study participants.
Results in both samples revealed that, to the extent that people felt confident in dealing with their finances, and believed they could get another job if they lost their current one, participants were less anxious about their financial situation. At the same time, the data showed that participants in the Canadian sample (37 per cent) were less likely to be employed full-time than those in the American sample (67 per cent), and Canadians were more likely to be unemployed (40 per cent) than those in the American sample (13 per cent).
All participants were asked to respond to an additional question, “Do you feel that you have enough income to get by since the advent of coronavirus?” by checking one alternative, from “not at all” to “a lot.” In the Canadian sample, those who felt they did not have enough money to get by since the pandemic were more likely to express feelings of insecurity about their jobs and were more anxious about their financial situation. The authors did not find this result in the American sample. Taken together, the results point to the importance of taking into account the economic context of research that examines the relationship among psychological variables, and this has practical implications as well as implications for the development of theory in psychology.
Learn more about the Happiness and Age Conference here.