Mental Health Problems for People with Bad Jobs, No Jobs


According to a new study, “poor quality” jobs can be just as harmful to a person’s mental health as no job at all.

After analyzing over 44,000 observations and 7,155 people in seven waves, Peter Butterworth, PhD, an associate professor at the Australian National University in Canberra, had the following to say regarding the research:

“It seems in our study that the adverse effects of moving from unemployment into a poor quality job outweighed the benefits of no longer being employed,” Butterworth said.

“We looked at four different aspects of work in our study: whether people were working in highly complex and demanding jobs, whether they had a say in how they did their work, whether they considered they received fair pay for their efforts, and whether they felt secure in their job,” Butterworth says. “While these conditions will often be found in jobs in the service sector, call centers, or casual sales jobs, they can also be found in more ‘prestigious’ jobs.”

As per the research, there was a direct connection between the amount of mental health concerns for folks working in unfavorable job conditions as there were with those unable to find employment.

“In the same way that we no longer accept workplaces that are physically unsafe or in which employees are exposed to dangerous or toxic substances, there could be a greater focus on ensuring a positive psychosocial environment at work,” Butterworth says. “And employers can also have an important role: promoting positive work practices can improve the health and therefore the productivity of their workforce.”

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