Job Insecurity = Sickness?

Is your job making you sick?  You might be surprised by a new study performed by Ball State University’s College of Health.  The study, Association of Job Insecurity with Health Risk Factors and Poorer Health in American Workers, found that despite recent low unemployment rates, job insecurity is becoming an issue.  Researchers found employees often deal with many physical and psychological problems, which include heart disease, lack of sleep, and psychological stress.

The study found about 33 percent of all individuals said they felt insecure at work.  In other findings, 14% of males were more likely than females to report serious job insecurity.  Ironically, researchers also found those workers who reported job insecurity were more likely to be overweight and smoke, have short sleep duration, and did not take part in regular physical activity.

The females who took part in this study and claimed to have high rates of job insecurity also tended to also have the following health ailments:

  • asthma
  • diabetes
  • work-life imbalance
  • worsening general health in the past year
  • pain disorders, including migraine and neck pain

However, men who were job insecure were more likely to miss more than two weeks of work in the past year, and suffer from severe chest pain, ulcers and hypertension.

The study, published in the Journal of Community Health, also found job workers who felt insecure in their jobs in the United States are more likely to be male, racial minorities or multi-racial adults.  They also had less than a college degree and were 45-64 years old.
So, what can employers do to combat this issue at work?  Here are some ideas:
  • improving communication between management and workers
  • reducing conflicting or uncertain job responsibilities
  • establishing programs to recognize workers’ accomplishments
  • helping workers to improve work-life balance
  • job sharing
  • telecommuting
  • child support programs
Do you have any ideas to add to this list?  What is your company doing to deal with the growing problem of job insecurity?  Share in the comments below.