Challenging assumptions : the application of a world views model to involuntary job loss : this thesis is presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Master of Arts in Psychology, at Massey University
Research by Janoff-Bulman has established that subsequent to experiencing a highly traumatic event, the world assumptions of trauma victims differ to those of individuals who have not experienced the same trauma. In utilising the Janoff-Bulman trauma model, this study investigated the world assumptions of people who had experienced involuntary job loss (IJL). As a result of my practical experience in outplacement counselling, it was my belief that IJL would be experienced differently by each individual. This study gave an the opportunity to measure the world assumptions of people who had experienced the same event and provided a model to help explain individual differences in reaction to this life stressor. The world assumptions, perceived level of job loss impact, and demographic factors were measured of 122 IJL participants. Firstly, level of emotional impact was measured, then categorised using the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ). As a result, 36.9% (n=45) of the participant group were identified as high impact, while 63% (n=77) were identified as low impact. This confirmed the issue of response variation to IJL. A regressional analysis found significant differences in four world assumptions between the two groups. The high impact group reported a lower level of self worth compared to the low impact group, though, inconsistent with the Janoff-Bulman model, the high impact group reported a higher belief in benevolence of people, benevolence of the world, and the belief of luck. These findings, along with implications for counsellors working in this area, are discussed with possible explanations proposed.