Impact of Unemployment on the Mental Health of Youth in the Kashmir Valley
Journal of Psychology & Psychotherapy

Journal of Psychology & Psychotherapy
Open Access

ISSN: 2161-0487


Research Article - (2020) Volume 10, Issue 4

Impact of Unemployment on the Mental Health of Youth in the Kashmir Valley

Mushtaq Ahmad Bhat1* and Dr. Jyotsna Joshi2
*Correspondence: Mushtaq Ahmad Bhat, Department of Psychology, Barkatullah University Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India, Tel: 7000824271, Email:

Author info »


Aim: The current study was carried out to investigate the Mental Health level of the employed and unemployed youth of Kashmir.

Material and methods: MH-38 inventory was used to evaluate mental health status of subjects. The sample consisted of 200 respondents; of these 100 were employed and 100 unemployed were taken into consideration. The effect of experimental variable was study on one criterion variable (Mental Health). For data analysis Mean, S.D. and t-test were applied.

Results: The findings of the study showed that the two groups significantly differed on all the sub scales of mental health. Unemployed showed higher level of anxiety, depression, and loss of behavioural/emotional control, psychological distress, and have showed lower levels of life satisfaction and psychological well-being scores in comparison with employed group.

Conclusion: In the present study it was found that unemployed youth are more prone to mental health disorders and health related issues. Unemployed have higher level of psychological distress as compared to their counterparts.


Mental health; Unemployment; Youth of Kashmir

Research Methodology


The present study was to examine the impact of unemployment on the mental health of youth in Kashmir.


There would be significant difference between the dimensions/ sub-scales of mental health inventory viz, anxiety depression, loss of behavioural/emotional control, general positive affect, emotional ties, psychological distress, psychological well-being, global scales and mental health index in employed and unemployed youth of Kashmir.


The present study was conducted on the sample of 200 respondents among these, 100 were employed and remaining 100 were unemployed youth. The participants were selected through the method of purposive randomly sampling. The sample of the present study was recruited from various districts of Kashmir Valley. The age of the respondents ranged from 18-25 years.

Procedure for data collection

First of all, the investigator met the participants personally and explained them the purpose of the present study. In some situations permission was also taken from the concerned authorities. Then after, the investigator established rapport with the participants and requested them to participate voluntarily and cooperate in the data collection process and assured them that their responses would be kept confidential and utilized for the research purposes only. The participants were asked to read the instructions carefully given on the top of each scale. They were also requested to answer all the statements given in the scales sincerely. After receiving their consent, were administered to employed and unemployed youth individually.

The employed and unemployed youth of Kashmir were approached after getting permission from the higher authorities of employed youth as well as individual consent was taken from both employed and unemployed youth prior to the data collection. After taking the consent, data was taken separately from each of the participants. The background and purpose of the research endeavour was explained thoroughly to the each participant so that every answer will be quite truthful, reliable and transparent. Then after, the investigator established rapport with the participants and requested them to participate voluntarily and cooperate in the data collection process and assured them that their responses would be kept confidential and utilized for the research purposes only.

Research tools used

The Mental Health Inventory (MHI-38), developed Veit and Ware (1983), was applied to assess the mental health of the selected sample for the present study. This instrument provides an assessment of several domains of mental health including anxiety, depression, behavioural control, positive effect, and general distress. The full-length MHI consists of 38 items and has been studied extensively in a variety of populations. The 36 items are scored on a 6-point and 2 items scored on 5-point Likert type scale, ranging from 1 (all of the time) to 6 (none of the time). The subscale and total scores range from 0-226, with higher scores indicating better mental health. Subjects are asked to indicate how often they have experienced various emotions during the prior four week period. The scoring system for the MHI is relatively complex and generates a total score. One who scores high on this inventory is described as having high mental health and vice versa.

The full-length version of the Mental Health Inventory has a Cronbach alpha of .93 while the short form has an alpha of .82. In the field testing for the Multiple Sclerosis Quality of Life Inventory the Mental Health Inventory showed good convergent and discriminant validity.


The t-test was applied to the obtained data to analyze the significance of a difference between the two groups, unemployed and employed youth of Kashmir on mental health inventory (Table 1 and Figure 1).

Mental Health Sub-scales Unemployed Youth SD Employed Youth S.D t-value
Mean Mean
Anxiety 35.89 9.23 18.38 8.2 14.18 **
Depression 17.64 4.56 9.59 6.78 9.85 **
Loss of behavioural/EC 37.42 8.38 24.91 6.59 11.73 **
General positive effect 23.7 6.93 44.33 8.31 19.06**
Emotional ties 5.92 3.02 9.29 1.25 10.31**
Life satisfaction 2.6 0.53 5.3 0.91 25.63**
Mental Health Global Scales          
Psychological distress 93.84 28.3 51.33 20.02 12.26**
Psychological well being 27.63 10.62 49.6 13.32 12.89 **
Mental health index score 78.57 20.25 132.21 43.86 11.10 **

Table 1: Shows the mean, SDs and t-values on (MHI-38) in unemployed and employed youth.


Figure 1: Shows mean values of unemployed and employed youth on MHI-38.

The results showed the values of anxiety; depression, loss of behavioural and emotional control is higher for the unemployed group as compared to the employed group. Coherently, the levels of the positive effects, the emotional ties and life satisfaction are higher in the employed youth. The “t” value on all the sub scales showed significant differences.

Our findings analyzed that unemployed participants showed higher scores in anxiety sub-scale of mental health inventory (M=35.89) in comparison of employed (M=18.38). Our findings bear some similarities with those of previous studies like Howe et al., reported elevated rates of depression, anxiety, and stress among involuntarily unemployed individuals. For example, the following rates were estimated: depression= 29%, anxiety = 31%, and stress = 28% in US adults [40]. This study is also found that continuous unemployment and failure of getting a job would be anticipated to promote mental impairments and reduce wellbeing and quality of life, eventually leading to depression, anxiety, and stress [41]. In context of depression sub scale of mental health inventory unemployed youth showed higher scores (M= 17.64), as compared with employed youth (M=09.38). Previous findings showed that unemployed individual’s showed sadness and a depressive symptom is common [42] more stress [43] and lower well-being compared to employed individuals [44]. Banks and Jackson reported that the unemployment results in minor psychiatric disorder, or it is likely to create increased symptoms [45]. In perspective of Loss of Behavioural/Emotional Control sub-scale of mental health inventory unemployed youth showed higher scores (M=37.42) than employed youth (M=24.91). These findings are supported by (Rabin, 2009) found that the participants who were experienced emotional distress were also experiencing physical distress [46]. It was also identified that jobless showed lower self-esteem and greater depressive affect, negative mood, and externality in locus of control than the employed [47]. In context of general positive affect sub-scale of mental health the employed show higher scores (M=44.33) in comparison to unemployed (M=23.7). This study is well supported by this finding which show that unemployed individuals had lower psychological and physical well-being than employed group. It was also assume that positive effects on employee performance and well-being would result increase levels of mindfulness [48,49]. In emotional tie sub-scale of mental health inventory, the employed youth showed high scores (M=9.29) in comparison of unemployed (M=5.92). The results of previous study proposed that structured interventions in emotional competences can increase people's beliefs in their own capabilities (entrepreneurial self-efficacy) and their ability to find employment (employability) and can contribute to the actual re-employment [50]. The gender and birth order have significant effect on quality of life and the findings also indicate that male and second born unemployed persons have good quality of life than female and first born unemployed persons [51]. During the present study the employed youth showed higher scores (M=5.3) than unemployed youth (M=2.6). In perspective of life satisfaction sub scale of mental health inventory. The literature also showed that unemployment is associated with poorer mental health, poor physical and psychological well-being, as well as lower levels of life satisfaction likely to report extreme dissatisfaction than their employed peers [52,53]. In the present study unemployed youth showed higher scores (M=93.84) in contrast with employed (M=51.33) on psychological distress in global sub scale of mental health inventory. This study is well supported by various previous studies showed that unemployed persons report high psychological distress like depression, low self-esteem and lowered psychological well-being than employed persons [54,55]. In the framework of psychological wellbeing global sub scale of mental health inventory the unemployed showed lower scores (M=27.63) than employed (M=49.6). In relation with mental health index the employed showed higher scores (M=132.21) in contrast with unemployed (M=78.57). However lower mental health index ratio indicates that the unemployed are more associated with mental health issues. It was also found that unemployed persons report high psychological distress and lowered psychological well-being and self-esteem than employed group [56,57].


Unemployment among educated youth is one of the major social problems of Kashmir and the unemployment rates have continued to increase, most likely due to insufficient job creations. The present study aimed to address the gab in potential links between psychological distress and unemployment in the educated sector of the population. The problem of unemployment gains more importance because of higher incidence of unemployment among the educated section of youth in the state. Due to limited job opportunities available for educated youth in the state, the number of unemployed youth has been increasing in every passing year [58]. The previous studies was also focus on the industrial sector of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, both small as well as large scale and its potential to control educated unemployment and suggest measures and policies on the part of state government to establish the strong industrial base. Moreover, their study will examine the major causes for the failure of state and centrally sponsored schemes to eradicate unemployment in the state of Jammu and Kashmir [59]. Unemployment increases the psychological toll on families and can also increase stress and other negative effects of families which can exacerbate one ’s overall mental health [60].


In the present study we found that unemployed have higher level of anxiety, depression, loss of behavioural/emotional control and psychological distress and have lower level of emotional ties, life satisfaction and general positive affect in comparison to their counter parts. The present study also reports on the high prevalence and associated risk factors of depression, anxiety, and behaviour problems among job seekers. This indicates that preventive workforce initiatives aimed at better alignment between educational channel and job markets are needed. Furthermore, early mental support and resilience training programs during higher education are needed to potentially mitigate the elevated risk of mental issues among unemployed youth in Kashmir. We suggested that skill based and job-oriented courses should be taught at secondary level so that its pass outs are not rendered unproductive and jobless. Further exploring with a national large-scale sample concerning our yielded risk issues.


Author designed the study, collection of data, and drafted the manuscript and also revised and co-author approved for final manuscript for submission. The study was not financial supported by any government or academic bodies. The authors declared that there is no conflict of interests. All procedures on human subjects were conducted based on the ethical standards of the research.


Author Info

Mushtaq Ahmad Bhat1* and Dr. Jyotsna Joshi2
1Department of Psychology, Barkatullah University Bhopal, (MP), India
2Department of Psychology, S.N.G.G.PG College, Bhopal, (M.P), India

Citation: Bhat MA, Joshi J (2020) Impact of Unemployment on the Mental Health of Youth in the Kashmir Valley. J Psychol Psychother. 10:373. doi: 10.35248/2161-0487.20.10.373

Received Date: Apr 25, 2020 / Accepted Date: May 27, 2020 / Published Date: Jun 03, 2020

Copyright: ?© 2020 Bhat MA, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the creative commons attribution license which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Sources of funding : Nil