Bad Job May Be Worse for Mental Health Than No Job at
TUESDAY, March 15 (HealthDay News) -- Having a bad, short-term
or poorly paid job can harm your mental health as much as having no
job, according to a new study.
Researchers analyzed data from more than 7,000 people of working
age in Australia and were not surprised to find that those who were
unemployed had poorer mental health overall than those with
However, the study authors also found that the mental health of
people with badly paid, poorly supported or short-term jobs could
be as bad as, or even worse, than that of those who were
People with the poorest quality jobs experienced the largest
decline in mental health over time. The researchers found a direct
association between the number of unfavorable working conditions
and mental health, with each additional negative job aspect
reducing a person's mental health score.
For unemployed people, the health benefits of finding a job
depended on the quality of the job. Getting a high quality job
after being unemployed boosted mental health by an average of 3
points, but getting a poor quality job led to a mental health
decline of 5.6 points.
The authors concluded that very demanding jobs that give people
little control over their work -- and that provide little support
or financial reward -- are not good for health.
"Work-first policies are based on the notion that any job is better than none as work promotes economic as well as personal wellbeing, wrote the authors. "Psychosocial job quality is a pivotal factor that needs to be considered in the design and delivery of employment and welfare policy."
The study appears online in the journal
Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
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