Does a History of Depression Affect Employability?
Accommodations for people with disabilities exist today in most institutions. Nevertheless, negative stigmatizing attitudes towards mental illness may still lead to employment discrimination. This 2018 empirical study asks if people with depression are less likely to be offered jobs by future employers. 162 undergraduate students (50% female; 50% male) from Glendon College (Toronto, Canada) were asked to pretend they were an employer and, as such, to read a fictitious scenario and estimate the likelihood that they would offer a job as a sales rep to a seemingly qualified male applicant. All study participants evaluated the same job applicant, but half (40 males & 41 females ) were told the candidate had a major depressive disorder, while the other half (40 of males & 41 females) were not. The likelihood of offering the job to the candidate was ranked from low to high. Results show that the job applicant where depression was mentioned was less likely to be offered the position than the candidate where depression was not mentioned. It appears that, even in an academic setting where accommodations are common, young educated adults (i.e., future employers) hold stigmatizing attitudes towards individuals who experience depression and are less inclined to hire them. The study concludes that increased education through awareness campaigns can help reduce stigma toward mental illness.
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