Kids: Hidden Casualties of Recession

For many American families, the greatest damage inflicted by this recession has not necessarily been financial, but emotional and psychological. Children, especially, have become hidden casualties. Several academic studies have linked parental job loss (especially that of fathers) to adverse impacts in areas like school performance and self-esteem. As reported in The New York Times, a University of California study found children in families where the head of the household had lost a job were 15% more likely to repeat a grade. An earlier University of Chicago study found adolescent children of low-income single mothers who endured unemployment had an increased chance of dropping out of school and showed declines in emotional well-being. In the long term, children whose parents were laid off have been found to have lower annual earnings as adults than those whose parents remained employed. New York University Center for Human Potential and Public Policy says job loss in middle-class households appears to change family dynamics. Repercussions were more pronounced in children when fathers, rather than mothers, experience unemployment.