The need for work: Jahoda's latent functions of employment in a representative sample of the German population



Marie Jahoda's latent deprivation model was tested with a representative sample of the German population (N = 998). As expected, employees reported high levels of time structure, social contact, collective purpose, and activity not only in comparison to unemployed persons but also in comparison to persons who are out of the labor force (i.e., students, homemakers, retirees). Even unskilled manual workers reported more access to these “latent functions” than persons without employment. For the fifth of Jahoda's dimensions, identity/status, no significant differences between employed persons and persons who are out of the labor force could be identified. However, unemployed persons reported less status than all other groups did. Thus, Jahoda's model was clearly endorsed for four of the five latent functions of employment and partly endorsed for the fifth function. All variables in the model correlated significantly with distress, as expected. Demographic correlates of the manifest and latent functions were also analyzed: Access to the latent functions was best among young men from higher social classes who lived in an intimate relationship in a comparatively large household with children. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.