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Lengthy Unemployment Shown to Change Personalities

iStock/Thinkstock(STIRLING, Scotland) -- The longer unemployment lasts, the longer it can affect one’s personality, according to one study, which seems to disapprove the notion that people’s personalities are fixed.

Researcher Christopher Boyce of the University of Stirling in Scotland says that over time, being out of work can make people less agreeable and as a result, may hamper their efforts to get hired.

Based on a standard personality test given to 7,000 German adults, Boyce looked at the effects of unemployment on hundreds who were thrown out of work by examining the following personality traits: conscientiousness, neuroticism, agreeableness, extraversion and openness.  

Interestingly enough, unemployed men’s levels of agreeableness increased in the first two years of being out of work but those levels dropped afterwards. Meanwhile, women’s agreeableness declined steadily from the point when they first lost their jobs.

On the other hand, conscientiousness, which is tied to the enjoyment of income, fell among men throughout their unemployment but rose initially for women before declining.

One way or the other, Boyce says prolonged unemployment has a detrimental effect on one’s personality and society should have more compassion for people who are unable to find a job due to changes that are often beyond their control.

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