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Open Access ‘Face’ and psychological processes of laid-off workers in transitional China

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Abstract:

Objective: The objective was to explore the psychological experiences of laid-off workers in contemporary transitional China and to formulate a theoretical model of these.

Methods: In-depth interviews of 26 laid-off workers were conducted and analysed using grounded theory techniques.

Results: Four themes underline the psychological processes of these laid-off workers ‐ feeling of loss, feeling of physical pain, feeling of fatalism, and final acceptance. These are characterized by Chinese culture and its philosophy ‐ feeling of loss is dominated by their loss of face (diu mianzi), physical pain is a somatization of their mental painfulness, their fatalism is traced back to the Chinese ancient theocratic concept of Tian Ming, and their acceptance of reality to their final making face (zheng mianzi) is sourced from both Confucianism and Daoism.

Conclusion: The psychological experience of laid-off workers (or unemployed workers) is likely to have varied manifestations in different cultural contexts. The psychological processes of Chinese laid-off workers (or unemployed workers) might be different from those of laid-off workers in Western countries. A therapeutic intervention to cater for the needs of laid-off workers derived from the four themes might be effective.

Keywords: China; laid-off workers; psychological process; state-owned enterprises; unemployed workers

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15212/FMCH.2015.0142

Publication date: 2016-07-01

More about this publication?
  • Family Medicine and Community Health (FMCH) is an open-access journal focusing on subjects that are common and relevant to family medicine/general practice and community health. The journal publishes relevant content across disciplines such as epidemiology, public health, social and preventive medicine, research and evidence based medicine, community health service, patient education and health promotion and health ethics. The journal has a specific focus on the management of chronic illness particularly diabetes, ischaemic heart disease, chronic heart failure, hypertension, bronchial asthma, chronic obstructive airways disease and common mental illness. FMCH is published by Compuscript http://www.compuscript.com on behalf of the Chinese General Practice Press http://www.chinagp.net.

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