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SP6-12 The health and well-being of laid-off automobile industry workers in Durham, Canada
  1. E Bartfay,
  2. W Bartfay,
  3. T Wu
  1. University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada

Abstract

Introduction The City of Oshawa in Durham, Canada is a major manufacturing hub for automotive production. In 2008–2009, we witnessed an unprecedented economic crisis not seen since the great depression. A record number of auto-workers lost their jobs as a result. Little is known about how these lay-offs affected the health and well-being of the workers. This exploratory study examined the impact of being laid-off on the emotional, physical, social and financial health of auto-workers.

Methods A purposive sampling technique was employed to recruit participants from two locations: The CAW Community Action Centre and a Service Fair organised by the Durham Region Local Training Board. All participants were asked to complete an in-depth demographic and health questionnaire.

Results A total of 36 laid-off workers were interviewed between 28 October and 30 November 2009. Approximately two-third of our participants were male and the mean age was 45 (SD=6, range=30–61). The average length of time since laid-off was 13 months (SD=8, range=1–36). Half of our participants reported a feeling of burden to others and a loss of social status, and 75% reported a loss of identity and pride. With regard to the self-rated health and well-being status on a scale of 1 (very poor) to 5 (excellent) since being laid-off, our participants reported mid-level physical health (score=3.12), but relatively poor emotional health (score=2.59), social health (score=2.5) and financial health (score=1.97).

Conclusion Job loss can have a wide range of effect on one's well-being, including physical, emotional, social and financial health.

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