Low Job Satisfaction Could Lead to Future Health Problems

Younger workers who are not happy with their job may experience some physical and mental health problems as they get older.  A new Ohio State University study found that workers in their 20s and 30s who are unsatisfied with their jobs have a higher chance of experiencing these problems in their 40s, when compared to those who are happy at work.

For the study, researchers looked at 6,432 U.S. workers from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, which followed adults who were between the ages of 14 and 22 when the survey began in 1979.  The participants then reported a variety of health measures once they turned 40.  The researchers placed the participants in one of four groups:

  1. people who liked their job
  2. workers who liked their job, but whose satisfaction was falling
  3. those who did not like their job
  4. those who did not like the jobs, but whose satisfaction was rising

Here is what they found:  Workers who reported low or lessening job satisfaction actually had worse overall health, including more back pain and more frequent colds than workers who were satisfied with their job after turning 40.

The differences in mental health were actually greater.  For example, workers in the low-satisfaction group were more likely to experience depression, trouble sleeping, excessive worry and emotional trouble. Those whose job satisfaction started higher but trended down were more likely to have trouble sleeping and excessive worry.