Dealing with Challenges of Social and Economic Change: Role of Agency in Regional and International Comparison

[Speaker] Silbereisen, Rainer K:1
1:University of Jena, Germany (Germany)

Political transformations confluent with globalization, economic jeopardy, demographic change, and migration present new uncertainties for many people and families. As uncertainties are unsettling and interfering with behavior planning, especially if concerning one's place in the world and self-identity, individuals tend to spend motivational energy, cognitive structuring, and contextual resources in dealing with uncertainties. In a decade-long research program we have analyzed people's striving in a cross-region/country comparative fashion, assessed during times of growing unemployment due to economic recession. Results revealed that most try to overcome the challenges by engagement rather than disengagement, especially when they have congruent controllability believes. The negative effects of uncertainties on psychological and economic well-being were less pronounced if the welfare system in the country was generous, and unexpectedly if they lived in regions high in unemployment, thereby revealing a social norm effect. Consequences for public policy will be discussed.
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