Life Cycle and Psychosocial Characteristics of Unemployed Adults

A life cycle represents evolutionary development, and we understand it through the process that occurs at every life stage that leads to continuity and change in the development patterns. We can see the development in irregular successions that stretch from one generation to another and can be small as a change in status or occupation. Psychosocial characteristics develop through several changes from changing environment to personal differences and can have chronic effects.

The change process varies from person to person, depending on characteristics relevant to age. Adult behaviour can be studied and marked by new family roles, unemployment, diseases or retirement. Adult development is highly dependent on individual personal experiences compared to the passage of time.

Variations in the development process of an adult

Placing adults in a fixed time frame can help us understand the variations in the development process corresponding to the social roles and norms. These factors act as relevant information bases for reactions on various social rules for an unemployed person.

Here are some essential insights on adult development in environments of work and unemployed:

Work Environment

One can mark adulthood by several social events and changes in the role that calls for several new demands and important social tasks. The three most essential roles of adulthood – family, work, and community – are considered the growing benchmarks for most studies. Work helps adults understand and present themselves in complex social roles while providing appropriate assistance with proper conduct, abilities, and attributes.

Challenging work environment

In a challenging work environment, an adult faces opportunities to establish a work identity. Several believe that building a work identity helps improve and strengthen one’s personal identity and understand their social objectives and personal goals.

Work can also be considered as a survival mechanism for adulthood

Moreover, work can also be considered as a survival mechanism for adulthood. Work is a human effort devoted to executing a series of activities that help them obtain the resources for an individual to survive. That implies that work is not only the perfect way to evolve your identity but also a way of survival for adults. Moreover, having a supportive work environment opens opportunities for more psychosocial development that enhances one’s mundane life and increases interpersonal relations.

From a psychosocial perspective, work enables a person to make a string of decisions throughout their life cycle – childhood, adolescence, and adulthood – to survive or prepare for productive activities.

Mid-life is when a person in adulthood reaches the peak of productivity. At the peak of the occupational cycle, there is more influence and necessity to survive. Mid-life is when one earns the most social respect and often coincides with the time when one re-evaluates themselves. Unemployment in such times can cause much disruption in psychosocial development.


The psychosocial effects of unemployment are significant and are linked directly to the life cycle. The development in the work environment determines an individual’s ability to create an identity and question their income and psychological satisfaction level.

Work is considered the most vital link between an individual and their reality as the loss of the bond can have several disruptions in personal development. The abrupt ending of work can cause changes in roles to play and compromise the result of an individual.

Work helps develop self-concept

Work helps develop self-concept by defining the image that others have of you and the idea we hope to portray. Additionally, this takes a lot of time in a person’s life cycle and includes a series of related experiences, namely, practices, learning period, voluntary work, part-time jobs, work at home, unemployment.

Non-instrumental work compared to Instrumental work

In several studies conducted on adults, one can see that people have a superior value for non-instrumental work compared to instrumental work. The studies revealed that it is impossible to sustain the true nature of motivation without the opportunity to learn from experience. The option provides individuals to adjust biographically and change preferences accordingly.

The influence of age in work

More studies that delved into the influence of age in work and unemployment showed that individuals beyond the age of 45 faced several difficulties. The study proved that age had a significant effect and changed the probabilities of finding a job.

Important factors contributing to unemployment

Besides age, other important factors contributing to unemployment are gender, educational level, job status, and background. Job-status is important as it provides a psychosocial meaning to work and helps create a strong bond. However, the absence of definition has also proved to be an effective catalyst for creating bonds simultaneously.

Negative consequences generating unemployment

Several negative consequences can generate the unemployment situation, including the impoverishment of work conditions, lower salaries, insufficient benefits, or political influence. Sometimes, people occur to assume the situation of unemployment to create an opportunity to analyze and reorganize themselves to change work and re-orient their career.

Studies comparing middle-aged individuals have shown several variable differences like self-esteem, commitment, control, mental and physical health that differ from employed and unemployed individuals. These studies showed that unemployed individuals have lower self-esteem, mental health conditions, and physical strength compared to their employed counterparts.

Certain conditions like schedule, compensations, and security are significant factors that vary the range of situations between employment and unemployment. One of the main factors is the idea of a “submerged economy” that divided employment into informal and formal sectors. Formal sectors included individuals with fixed jobs and fixed salaries, while the informal sector attributes for the rest.


In contrast to other development stages, adulthood is marked by social events, like unemployment. The absence of a job through the life cycle has several concrete developments that disrupt capital roles, and one knows it for critical psychological disorders.

Age is a significant variable that alters the effect of unemployment and results in negative development, especially in the middle-aged group. For adults over 45 years, it can be challenging to acquire a job due to the technological differences which threaten long-term unemployment.

It is extremely important to consider the effects and acquire proper psychosocial dimensions to stabilize the development throughout the life cycle. Some significant aspects to consider for the development process are: Work in adulthood, the transition between employments, social vulnerability, and age

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