POLL: Layoffs Take Heavy Emotional Toll

UNHAPPY SURPRISE – Surprise at losing a job is another factor in emotional responses and financial pain alike. As noted, among people who report a job loss in their household, 52 percent were surprised by it. These people are much more likely than those who saw it coming to be angry about the job loss. They're also more apt, albeit moderately so, to be stressed, depressed, and to have a great deal of financial hardship.

INCOME/INSURANCE – Results of this survey mark the uneven distribution of household job losses. The greatest differentiation by far is by income, with the loss of a job in the last year twice as likely to have hit lower-income than higher-income families. Among people with family incomes greater than $100,000 a year, 16 percent report a job loss in their household. Among those with incomes less than $50,000, this soars to 37 percent.

A final result underscores the stress and financial hardship layoffs can bring – and ties into the current health care debate as well. Among Americans who have not been hit by a job loss in their household, 11 percent don't have health insurance. But among the three in 10 who have had a job loss, the lack of health insurance spikes, to 25 percent.

METHODOLOGY – This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone Nov. 12-15, 2009, among a random national sample of 1,001 adults, including landline and cell-phone-only respondents. Results for the full sample have a 3.5-point error margin. Click here for a detailed description of sampling error. Sampling, data collection and tabulation by TNS of Horsham, Pa.

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