Having a job with poor working conditions can be just as stressful and bad for a person's mental health as being unemployed, according to new research published in Psychological Medicine.
The recent study led by Peter Butterworth, associate professor, ANU College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, England, used nationally representative data to analyze and compare the mental health of people having adverse psychosocial job conditions with those who were unemployed. The study was based on the data from the 2007 English Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey. The sample size of the study was 2,603 individuals aged between 21 and 54 years.
AdvertisementPoor psychosocial job quality is characterized by factors such as high job demands, low job control, poor job security, and least of all, low job esteem. Professor Butterworth pointed out that the study results support the theory that mental health benefits of work are confined to good quality jobs, while having a poor quality job is as good as being unemployed and involves the same risks of poor mental health.
There appeared to be no difference in the rates of common mental conditions, such as anxiety and depression, between the unemployed and those who held low quality jobs.
The results of this study tallied with the findings of an Australian study carried out previously. These results add to a growing body of analysis highlighting the need to address the psychosocial aspects of work environment as a part of an effort to reduce mental illness in the society.
Good job conditions would increase job control, security, and esteem while reducing job demands.
'The improvement of psychosocial work conditions, such as reducing job demands, and increasing job control, security, and esteem can flow on to improvements in employee's mental health and reduce the burden of illness on public health systems', said Prof. Butterworth.