STRESSFUL WORK ENVIRONMENTS
CAN LEAD TO EARLIER DEATH
A new study lends support to what many working people anecdotally believe: that their job will kill them.
Researchers at Tel Aviv University conducted a study to look at how workplace environments affected workers’ risk of death. The 20-year study followed the health of 820 adults working in a various professions. By the time the study concluded in 2008, 53 of the participants had died, and, according to an article in Time, they were “significantly more likely” than those workers who were still living to report working in a “hostile work environment.”
While many workers complain about their bosses, the study found that a bad relationship between workers and bosses had no effect on workers’ health. Rather, the relationship that mattered most, and influenced workers’ health, was the relationship with co-workers.
The study found that workers were 2.4 times more likely to die when they experienced little to no support from co-workers as compared to workers who had supportive relationships with co-workers.
The study did note that, for men, having a sense of control over one’s job helped mitigate the effects a hostile workplace had on health. However, this was not the same for women. The study found women had a 70 percent increased risk of death when they possessed power, when compared to women who did not possess power at work. The Time article indicated that many of these women were working mothers and the power at work only added to the overall stress of their lives.
While, the study was not able to rule out the possibility that environmental (toxic) factors contributed to the death of the workers, it does show how a stressful work-environment can affect workers.
And, a job environment can be even more stressful if there is discrimination in the workplace. Employees should understand that hostile work environments due to co-worker incompatibility is one thing, however, a hostile work environment due to job discrimination is simply unacceptable. Any type of employment discrimination based on sex, race, age, disability or marital status, for instance, is illegal and subject to penalties under the law.