The study, conducted by researchers from Harvard Business School in Boston, MA, analyzed 228 studies that looked at the effects of work stressors (e.g., job security, family-work conflict, long work hours, and job demands) on four health outcomes: mortality, the presence of a diagnosed medical condition, self-reported poor mental health, and self-reported poor physical health.
Researchers discovered that workers who have high job demands are 50% more likely to develop a medical condition than those without this stressor. Job security was associated with a 50% higher risk of poor physical and mental health, and long work hours were linked to a 20% higher mortality risk.
The team writes, âThe results of our meta-analysis shows that workplace stressors generally increased the odds of poor health outcomes to approximately the same extent as exposure to secondhand smoke.â
Study author Joel Goh suggests that policymakers need to address workplace practices that continue to contribute to job-related stress.
The team notes that âpossible job redesigns could involve limiting working hours, reducing shift work and unpredictable working hours, and encouraging flexible work arrangements that help employees to achieve a better balance between their work life and their family life.â
According to the American Psychological Associationâs (APA) latest âStress in Americaâ survey, money is the main cause of stress in the U.S., with work being a close second.
Sources for Todayâs Article:
Goh, J., et al., âWorkplace stressors & health outcomes: health policy for the workplace,â Behavioral Science & Policy Association, published online September 2015; https://behavioralpolicy.org/article/workplace-stressors-health-outcomes/.Â
Whiteman, H. âWork stress âdamages health as much as secondhand smoke exposureâ,â Medical News Today web site, September 7, 2015; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/299142.php.