Work-Related Stress Causes Health Problems & Early Deaths, Research Claims

By Claire Ann Austria

Oct 18, 2016 06:00 AM EDT

Fact it is that a stressful job can affect a person in several ways - personal or professional. Now, a new study has found that people working at high-stress jobs can are more likely to have health issues and die early compared to those who have flexibility and are allowed to use their judgment at work.

Researchers from Indiana University examined a sample of 2,363 people in their 60s staying in Wisconsin for seven years from Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, which observed 10,000 graduates from Wisconsin high schools in 1957. In the longitudinal study, all the participants were interviewed at regular time intervals till 2011 to understand their educational, occupational and emotional experiences.

The latest study results showed that people who had little control over their jobs had 15.4 percent increase in the likelihood of death as opposed to those in less stressful job. Researchers also found that people who were allowed use their discretion in high-control jobs had a 34 percent decrease in the likelihood of death compared to low job demands.

"These findings suggest that stressful jobs have clear negative consequences for employee health when paired with low freedom in decision-making, while stressful jobs can actually be beneficial to employee health if also paired with freedom in decision-making," Erik Gonzalez-Mulé, lead author of the study and assistant professor of organizational behavior and human resources at the Kelley School at the university, said in a statement.

"You can avoid the negative health consequences if you allow them to set their own goals, set their own schedules, prioritize their decision-making and the like," he said, adding that companies that allow "employees to have a voice in the goal-setting process, so when you're telling someone what they're going to do ... it's more of a two-way conversation."

The research titled, "Worked to Death: The Relationships of Job Demands and Job Control With Mortality," has been accepted to be published in the peer-reviewed Personnel Psychology journal.

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