Job Stress Worsens Employees' Health

A study published in the September issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine evaluated this among workers in the Detroit area, which was hit hard in the recent recession.

Workers who believe their jobs are not secure are more likely to rate themselves in poor health and have increased symptoms of anxiety and depression, according to a study published in the September issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, which is the official publication of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

The authors, Sarah A. Burgard, Ph.D., and colleagues at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, analyzed data on about 440 working-age adults living in southeast Michigan in 2009-10. Their analysis was part of a larger study to assess the impact of the recent recession and ongoing recovery on the lives of workers living in the Detroit area. Nearly 18 percent of workers believed it was at least "fairly likely" they would lose their job or be laid off within the next year, and workers with this kind of job insecurity rated their health lower than did workers who perceived their jobs as more secure, according to ACOEM.

Job-insecure workers were nearly four times more likely to report symptoms of anxiety attacks and approximately seven times more likely to have symptoms suggesting minor or major depression.

"The study provides some of the first available evidence on the extent and distribution of perceived job insecurity and its association with health in the wake of the Great Recession," Burgard and her co-authors wrote. They predicted "perceptions of job insecurity may persist for some time."

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