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Low job satisfaction may lead to health problems: study

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Columbus, OH – Workers in their 20s and 30s who are unsatisfied with their jobs may experience physical and mental health problems by the time they reach their 40s, according to a new study from Ohio State University.

For the study, researchers examined data of 6,432 U.S. workers from 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. These participants then reported a variety of health measures after they turned 40. The researchers placed participants in four groups: People who liked their job, workers who liked their job but whose satisfaction was falling, those who did not like their job, and those who did not like their jobs but whose satisfaction was rising.

Workers who reported low job satisfaction or waning satisfaction had worse overall health, more back pain and more frequent colds than workers who were satisfied with their job after turning 40.

Disparities in mental health were even greater, researchers found. Workers in the low-satisfaction group were more likely to experience depression, trouble sleeping, excessive worry and emotional trouble. Those whose job satisfaction started higher but trended down were more likely to have trouble sleeping and excessive worry.

“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,” Hui Zheng, study co-author and an associate professor of sociology at Ohio State, said in a press release.

Zheng and lead author Jonathan Dirlam, a doctoral student in sociology at Ohio State University, presented their findings Aug. 22 at the American Sociological Association’s annual meeting in Seattle.

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