Getting through tough times : interpersonal communication coping strategies during job loss
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SubjectInterpersonal communication; Unemployed; Unemployment; Stress (Psychology); Adjustment (Psychology); Self-efficacy; Life skills; Social networks; FIRO-B (Personality test); Surveys (Research methodology); Interviews (Research methodology)
This research paper describes what role interpersonal communication plays in coping with and accepting job loss. The study is framed by theories of stress, appraisal, coping, and the theory of Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation (FIRO), where aspects of control, inclusion, and affection are achieved through interpersonal communication. Using a combination of surveys and in-depth interviews, two groups of copers were determined: healthy and unhealthy. Then, messages were themed and communication strategies were extracted, to establish what helps a person to thrive or not thrive through a layoff experience. A majority of healthy coping subjects showed solid social support and/or interpersonal communication elements of FIRO-B. Within those categories of FIRO-B, this study shows laid off workers – with purposeful interpersonal communication containing characteristics of affirmation, belonging & acceptance, encouragement, problem solving, trust, elevation, and reverence – are able to focus on opportunities which facilitate their ability to cope effectively with a layoff. Keywords: job loss, layoff, unemployment, stress, appraisal, acceptance, coping, thriving, support, interpersonal communication, self-efficacy, Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation (FIRO)
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