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Alexandre Granjard
Kevin M. Cloninger
Erik Lindskär
Christian Jacobsson
Sverker Sikström
Robert Cloninger
Danilo Garcia


Background: Long-term unemployment is associated with psychiatric problems, higher risk of suicide, low levels of well-being, and high levels of burnout. In this context, among other factors such as sociodemographic status and IQ, specific personality traits are important for individuals’ chances to finding a job, getting hired, and retaining that job, as well as for coping with the mental health risks related to long-term unemployment. Thus, in order to use person-centered methods to promote public health and sustainable employment during the current and future challenges of the 21st century, an important research area is the mapping and understanding of personality profiles of individuals who are unemployed. 
Objectives: We mapped the personality traits and profiles in a sample of Swedish long-term unemployed (i.e., ≥ 6 months without work) in relation to a control group from the Swedish general population.
Method: 245 long-term unemployed individuals (136 men and 157 women, range 18 to 60 years; M = 25.7; SD = 9.6) were recruited at the beginning of different well-being and employment projects in Blekinge, Sweden. The participants reported gender, age, and other basic demographics, as well as their personality using the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI). We calculated the T-scores and percentiles for the personality traits using the Swedish normative data (N = 1,948) and clustered participants in different temperament (high/low novelty seeking: N/n, high/low harm avoidance: H/h, high/low reward dependence: R/r) and character profiles (high/low self-directedness: S/s, high/low cooperativeness: C/c, high/low self-transcendence: T/t).
Results: Compared to the general population, the long-term unemployed were extremely higher in harm avoidance (> 1.5 standard deviation), moderately lower in persistence (> 0.5 standard deviation), extremely lower in self-directedness (> 2 standard deviations), and moderately lower in novelty seeking (> 0.5 standard deviation). That is, consistent with past research, our study shows that the personality of long-term unemployed is denoted by being pessimistic, fearful, easily fatigable, underachieving, blaming, helpless, and unfulfilled (i.e., high harm avoidance, low persistence, and low self-directedness), but also by being reserved and rigid (i.e., low novelty seeking). Furthermore, within the unemployed population, as much as 71.60% reported a methodical (nHr) or cautious profile (nHR), and as much as 64.00% reported an apathetic (sct) or a disorganized profile (scT). Moreover, the profile analyses allowed us to show that, within this unemployed population and in relation to each individual’s own profile, about 91.70% were high in harm avoidance, 98.60% were low in self-directedness, 64.00% were low in cooperativeness, and 44.40% low in self-transcendence.
Conclusions: These results indicate a high predictive value by the TCI, especially regarding the specific basic health-related traits or abilities (i.e., self-directedness, cooperativeness, and self-transcendence) needed to cope with the risks related to unemployment. Specifically, long-term unemployed populations have temperament profiles that present difficulties for them to adapt to the circumstances of unemployment, but also finding, getting, and retaining a job and character profiles that diminish their possibilities to self-regulate the emotions derived from their temperament through self-directed choices that improve their health and all aspects of their lives. Hence, evidence-based interventions targeting stress reduction and the development of health-related traits or abilities (i.e., self-directedness, cooperativeness, and self-transcendence) are urgently needed.

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