(Natural News) Being employed in a high stress job, especially if you have little control or flexibility in that job, can give you much more than a migraine or mild heartburn. The results of a seven year study from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University says it can be a predictor of your demise.
This research was done in Wisconsin “using a longitudinal sample of 2,363” residents over the age of 60, as reported by News-medical.net. Erik Gonzales-Mule, who works in organizational behavior and human resources, and Ph.D. candidate Bethany Cockburn compiled their findings in a paper entitled, “Worked to Death: The Relationships of Job Demands and Job Control With Mortality.” They believe their research may be the first published paper discussing the relationship between mortality and employment.
Gonzales-Mule and Cockburn looked at five variables. They tracked the actual amount of work, the “time pressure and concentration demands,” the control that emanated from the job top down, as well as the amount of freedom allowed in making work decisions bottom up. Their results were telling.
An employee who maintains a high stress, high demand job, but has little freedom or discretion in the workplace was “associated with a 15.4% increase in the likelihood of death,” when compared to a low demand job. An individual in a high stress position who is given a measure of autonomy demonstrated a 34% decrease in the chances for death, as compared to a low demand job. The negative consequences of less freedom become apparent in these findings. At the same time, the high stress jobs, combined with individual freedom indicate positive results.
The authors of the study are encouraging employers to allow workers to set their own schedules, as well giving employees their own voice in goal setting. Another suggestion was “job crafting,” where the employee takes on a more significant role, creating their place in the company. Social connections at work are also very beneficial.
Cockburn and Gonzales-Mule were able to link too much micro-managing from a boss to a “higher body mass index,” in the employee. This is because people under stress may smoke more or eat more just to cope, leading to obesity and disease.
The study discovered that certain industries had higher death rates. These include entry level service jobs, construction and manufacturing. The lowest death rates were folks who worked in agriculture. Hemp farming, anyone?