According to a new study, job stress could lead to death, bringing a whole new meaning to the words that “your job might kill you.”
Experts at Kelley School of Business, Indiana University monitored 3,148 people over two decades and found that a substantial workload and lack of autonomy are strongly linked to poor mental health and even death. Interestingly, the study is called “This Job Is (Literally) Killing Me.”
Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior and Human Resources, Erik Gonzalez also the lead author said:
When job demands are greater than the control afforded by the job or an individual’s ability to deal with those demands, there is a deterioration of their mental health and, accordingly, an increased likelihood of death. We found that work stressors are more likely to cause depression and death as a result of jobs in which workers have little control.
It is pertinent to point out that the reverse also holds true, that good health can also depend on jobs especially where the workers have autonomy. Furthermore, the independence at work isn’t the stressor itself but control helps cope with the other stresses, intelligence is also a coping mechanism for job stress. Gonzalez said:
People that are smarter are better able to adapt to the demands of a stressful job and figure out ways to deal with stress.
The key point is that managers should empower their employees with more control in demanding work places including how and when they do their work. The authors state that the COVID-19 outbreak could increase mental health issues, which makes it more crucial for managers to turn down the dial on work stress.
“It’s particularly important that work not exacerbate those problems,” he notes.