AIMS: The aim of this study was to examine the cross-sectional association between educational attainment and coping strategies with unemployment in a random sample of 37- to 56-year-old Danish men and women in long-term unemployment. METHODS: Data were based on a survey among 575 men and 1,064 women who had been unemployed at least 70% of the time during a three-year period (October 1996 to October 1999). The outcome measures were two scales for coping with unemployment, one for problem-solving coping, and one for avoidant coping. Educational attainment was measured by years of vocational training. RESULTS: A significant association was found between low educational attainment and low use of problem-solving coping among both men, OR = 1.81 (95% CI 1.19-2.75), and women, OR = 1.57 (1.13-2.18). Adjustment for cohabitation status, self rated health, economic strain, and unemployment status did not change this association substantially. High use of avoidant coping was associated with low educational attainment among men, OR = 1.57 (0.98-2.51). For women, medium educational attainment was significantly associated with low use of avoidant coping, OR = 0.60 (0.42-0.85). This result was not affected by adjustment for the covariates. CONCLUSIONS: Coping strategies are considered a potential modifier of the impact of unemployment on health and well-being. In this study, differences in coping strategies with unemployment were associated with educational attainment.
Keywords: Adaptation, Psychological; Adult; Cross-Sectional Studies; Denmark; Educational Status; Female; Health Status; Humans; Male; Middle Aged; Problem Solving; Questionnaires; Sex Factors; Socioeconomic Factors; Stress, Psychological; Unemployment