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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Sources of Stress in Latino Women Experiencing Unemployment After a Plant Closure

  • Author(s): Castro, Felipe
  • Romero, Gloria
  • Cervantes, Richard C.
  • et al.

A common assumption about women as laborers made in past unemployment research has been that their participation in the labor force is optional (Schlozman 1979). This assumption suggests that when unemployed, such women should be less susceptible than are males to personal, familial or social sources of stress (Rundquist and Sletto 1938). Additionally, this view suggests that women, especially Latino women, who are accustomed to the role of homemaker, should not object to job loss nor to a return to this role, particularly since they are supported by their husbands (Rundquist and Sletto 1936). However, current demographic data indicate that the number of Latino families headed and maintained by women have continued to increase since 1970. In 1983, women maintained 23 percent of Latino families (U.S. Department of Commerce 1984). Thus, the assumption must be questioned that participation in the labor force is entirely optional for Latino women, and that these women are not adversely affected by job loss. There is indeed a need to examine the nature and extent of the stress subsequent to job loss that affects unemployed Latino women.

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