Low job satisfaction in your 20’s and 30’s can affect both physical and mental health in your 40’s.
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Job satisfaction in your late 20s and 30s can affect both your physical and mental health in your 40s, a new study of 6,432 workers finds.
The study looked at job satisfaction trajectories for people from the ages of 25 through to 39, and then health once the people turned 40.
Overall, the study found that job satisfaction had a larger effect on mental health than physical health.
In terms of mental health, people less happy with their work early on in their careers were more depressed, experienced more worry, and had more trouble sleeping by their 40’s.
But the trend in your job satisfaction, whether it is getting better or worse early on in your career, was also important.
The researchers put participants in four groups according to their job satisfaction trend:
- Consistently Low Job Satisfaction (45%): These people scored worse off on all five of the mental health measures studied.
- Trending Downward (23%): These people 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. But there was no impact on depression scores or their chance of being diagnosed with emotional problems.
- Trending Upward (17%): These people did not experience any comparative health problems.
- Consistently High Job Satisfaction (15%): These people did not experience any mental health problems.
In terms of physical health, people less happy with their work weren’t affected as much as with mental health.
Both those who were in the consistently low job satisfaction group and those who were trending downwards, reported poorer overall health and more problems like back pain and frequent colds, compared to the high satisfaction group.
But they weren’t different in physical functioning or in doctor-diagnosed health problems (e.g. diabetes, cancer, etc).
For those trending upward in job satisfaction, there was no effects on physical health.
Lead author Jonathan Dirlam, of Ohio State University said:
We found that there is a cumulative effect of job satisfaction on health that appears as early as your 40’s.
Another of the study’s authors, Hui Zheng said:
the results showed the importance that early jobs have on people’s lives.
You don’t have to be near the end of your career to see the health impact of job satisfaction, particularly on your mental health.
it is important to remember that participants were studied when they were only in their 40s.
The higher levels of mental health problems for those with low job satisfaction may be a precursor to future physical problems.
Increased anxiety and depression could lead to cardiovascular or other health problems that won’t show up until they are older.
The 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.
The study was presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Society.
Image credits: thechive.com