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Fallout from the 'Mancession'

University of Kansas researcher documents the impact of the Great Recession on men who lost their breadwinner identify.

As researcher Tom Mortenson told me once, men work. It's what we do. And we're lost when we lose that role.

From the press release:

The acute economic downturn that began in 2008 sometimes is called the "mancession" to reflect its harsher impact on men than women. As recently as last November, 10.4 percent of adult men were unemployed as compared to 8 percent of adult women.

But how do unemployed men cope with their shifting domestic roles, especially when they become financially dependent on a wife or female partner?

One University of Kansas researcher has investigated the impact of joblessness on masculinity and the "breadwinner ideology" within the context of traditional families.

"It changes how men think of themselves," said Ilana Demantas, doctoral student in sociology, who has interviewed 20 recently unemployed men. "Usually men see themselves as supporters of the family, and since a lot of them are no longer able to do that alone on their income, they have to construct their identity in a new way to allow them to still think positively of themselves."

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