Low job satisfaction may hurt your health in 40s: study

Low job satisfaction may hurt your health in 40s: study

Low job satisfaction may hurt your health in 40s: study

People with low job satisfaction in their late 20s and 30s may be at the risk of depression and sleeping problems in their 40s, a new study has warned.

While job satisfaction had some impact on physical health, its effect was particularly strong for mental health.

The study also found that the direction of your job satisfaction - whether it is getting better or worse in your early career - has an influence on your later health.

"We found that there is a cumulative effect of job satisfaction on health that appears as early as your 40s," said Jonathan Dirlam from Ohio State University in the US.

"You do not have to be near the end of your career to see the health impact of job satisfaction, particularly on your mental health," said Hui Zheng from Ohio State.

Researchers used data from 6,432 Americans who participated in 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.

Researchers examined job satisfaction trajectories for people from age 25 to 39. These participants then reported a variety of health measures after they turned 40.
Participants rated how much they liked their jobs from 1 (dislike very much) to 4 (like very much).

Researchers put participants in four groups - consistently low and consistently high job satisfaction, those whose satisfaction started high but was trending down and those who started low but were trending higher.

The average score of those classified as the low group was nearly 3 (indicating they liked their job "fairly well").

But there was a lot of variance in that group, meaning that it included all the people who said they disliked their jobs somewhat or very much, said Dirlam.

About 45 per cent of participants had consistently low job satisfaction, while another 23 per cent had levels that were trending downward through their early career.

Researchers found that about 15 per cent of people were consistently happy at their jobs (nearly 4 on the scale) and about 17 per cent were trending upward.

Using those who were consistently happy as the reference, researchers compared how the health of the other three groups fared.

Mental health was most affected by people's feelings about their jobs.

People who were in the low job satisfaction group throughout their early careers scored worse on all five of the mental health measures studied, the results showed.

They reported higher levels of depression, sleep problems and excessive worry. They were also more likely to have been diagnosed with emotional problems and scored lower on a test of overall mental health.

Those whose job satisfaction started out higher but declined through their early career were more likely than those with consistently high satisfaction to have frequent trouble sleeping and excessive worry, and had lower scores for overall mental health.

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