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June 29, 2017
Study highlights link between job factors and poor health

Work-related factors that may not seem directly linked to health appear to affect employees’ view of their own well-being. A study by researchers at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) looked at psychosocial factors like occupation, job security worries, and work and family balance.

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NIOSH researchers analyzed data from 10,767 adults employed across diverse occupations. They were asked questions in five categories about their employment status and features of the job, and they were asked to rate their health on a scale of excellent to poor. They found significant links between the respondents’ self-health rating and job characteristics.

NIOSH says that workers more likely to report fair or poor health included those:

  • With no paid sick leave (35% more likely)
  • Who were worried about becoming unemployed (43% more likely)
  • Who reported difficulty combining work and family (23% more likely)
  • Who reported being bullied at work (82% more likely)

Additional findings point to the possible effect of specific job characteristics on health, compared to occupation alone. The researchers agree that “work is an important determinant of health.” They conclude that, “The influence of work on a person’s health manifests in various ways, such as employment conditions, how the work is organized, specific job-related tasks, exposures to hazardous agents, and long work hours. Work-life balance takes on a whole new meaning when these issues are perceived by the workers themselves as having a negative effect on their well-being.”

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