Call for Evidence: Worklessness, exits from work and wellbeing

We are reviewing the evidence of how worklessness – not  being in paid work and exits from work affect wellbeing.

Work &Learning


By worklessness we mean not being in regular employment or education/training, because of unemployment, retirement, disability or family care.

We are specifically interested in evidence which relates to the following research questions:

  1. What are the potential effects of not being in paid work on wellbeing?
  2. How does the duration of not being in paid work affect wellbeing?
  3. What are the impacts of changes in wellbeing on worklessness, duration of worklessness and the subsequent transitions?

We are looking for high quality research on each of these questions to use as best available evidence. We aim to use this evidence to show the impact of different types of worklessness- not being in paid work on wellbeing and the impact of wellbeing on moving in and out of worklessness for different demographic groups.

We are particularly seeking the following types of evidence:

  • Evaluation of how not being in paid work linked to different life circumstances (e.g., retirement, disability, unemployment) impacts on wellbeing.
  • Evaluation of the impact of poor wellbeing on remaining in worklessness
  • Evaluation of the extent to which the wellbeing outcomes of worklessness, duration of worklessness and the transitions between worklessness states vary across groups (e.g., age, gender, family status).

We are particularly interested in the effects of worklessness on life satisfaction. However, evidence of impact on wellbeing that may include stress, mental health, anxiety, and depression are also welcomed.

We welcome evidence of a qualitative or quantitative nature, provided the evidence meets the criteria outlined above.  Studies that use longitudinal methods are preferable. However, we also seek evidence from high quality cross-sectional studies.

→Please send your submissions to: with Worklessness as the title

→All submissions should be received by 20th of June 2016.


3 thoughts on “Call for Evidence: Worklessness, exits from work and wellbeing

  1. With regards to the first research question, hasn’t their been reviews done to suggest that not being in paid work has negative effects on wellbeing? especially for working age population and that the magnitude of these effects are further determined by individual circumstances? On the top of my head I know of two reviews, one by DWP in 2006 ‘is work good for health’ and another one by Health Development Agency in 2005 ‘Worklessness and Health’. So is this call looking to update the knowledge we already have from these earlier reports or doing a review from scratch? Having a review proposal might help audience to know what is already known in this area and suggest more relevant studies.


  2. Our review is intended to complement and update what is already known, particularly in the following respects:

    a) A lot of the previous review work is on mental health and not wellbeing (they are related but not the same thing);

    b) There is a need for an up-date to examine historical trends – the transitions team are hoping to be able convert the review to a meta-analysis with a ‘time varying’ moderator;

    c) Many reviews concentrate on the state of unemployment not the transition into worklessness.

    d) Most importantly, most of the reviews focus on unemployment but we don’t believe there is a comprehensive review that pools different forms of worklessness into one review.

    The protocol can be viewed here:

    Liked by 1 person

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