High-stress jobs linked to early death

A new study has shown that stressful jobs take a toll on people’s health and could ultimately lead to early death.

The research, “Worked to death: The relationship of job demands and job control with mortality”, found that people who experience work-related stress are prone to health issues and early death .

Using a longitudinal sample of 2,363 Wisconsin residents in their 60s over a seven-year period, the researchers found that people with little liberty in their jobs had 15.4 percent increase in the likelihood of death as opposed to those in less stressful jobs.

The study got its data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, which observed more than 10, 000 people who graduated from Wisconsin high schools in 1957.

Every participant was interviewed intermittently till 2011 to understand their educational, occupational and emotional experiences.

The research also showed that people whose freedom of judgement is allowed in high-control jobs had 34 percent decrease in the likelihood of death compared with those who aren’t.

“We explored job demands, or the amount of work, time pressure and concentration demands of a job, and job control, or the amount of discretion one has over making decisions at work, as joint predictors of death,” said Erik Gonzalez-Mule, assistant professor of organizational behaviour and human resources at the university.

“These findings suggest that stressful jobs have clear negative consequences on employee’s health when paired with low freedom decision-making, while stressful jobs can actually be beneficial to employee’s health if also paired with freedom in decision-making”,

“You can avoid the negative health consequences if you allow them set their own goals, set their own schedules, prioritise their decision-making and the likes.

“When you don’t have the necessary resources to deal with a demanding job, you do this other stuff,” Gonzalez-Mulé said. “You might eat more, you might smoke, you might engage in some of these things to cope with it”, he added.
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