The relationship between perceived social support, gender, age and mental health of the unemployed in the Mahikeng Area
Motlhajwa, Mmatebang Betty
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This study was an investigation of the relationship between perceived social support, gender, age and mental health of the unemployed in Mahikeng Area of the North West Province in South Africa. A cross-sectional research design was employed and data was collected from 202 randomly selected males and females in Mahikeng Area who were 20 years and above. The General Health Questionnaire 28 (GHQ 28) authored by Goldberg (1972) (Cronbach alpha-reliability value: 0.82-0.86) and the Social Support Questionnaire (SSQ) by Sarason, Levine, Basham, & Sarason (1983) with a test-retest reliability (r =0.90) and high internal consistency (alpha=0, 97) were administered on the participants, having obtained written informed consent and ethical approval (NWU-00044-12-A9). The t-test independent of means was used to test Hypothesis 1; while a 2 x 2 x 4 ANOV A was used to test for hypotheses 2, 3 & 4. Results of the analysis showed that (Hypothesis 1) unemployed persons have poorer mental health than persons that are employed on all the sub-scales of the GHQ 28, Somatic Complaints (GHQ A) t= (181) = 2.92, p < .05, Anxiety and Insomnia (GHQ B) t= (179) = 4.51, p< .05, Social Dysfunction (GHQ C) t= (191) = 3.71, p< .05, Severe Depression (GHQ D) t = (193) = 3.80, p< .05 and Total GHQ) t = (158) = 4.47, p< .05. The results of the analysis also indicated that (Hypothesis 2) there is a significant difference between social support and mental health (F = 1,101) = 3.94; P< .05), while (Hypotheses 3 & 4) showed no gender and age different in mental health among the unemployed. The study thus showed that employment status and social support affect mental health and it is recommended that employment opportunity should be provided by the government while mechanism for social support should be strengthened.
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