Behavioral Health Research Shows Bad Jobs are Bad for Mental Health

Bad JobYoung people in the workforce are always told that bad jobs are standard when entering the workforce. More often than not, an entry-level employee is overworked and underpaid, and has to stay this way for at least a couple of years before anything gets better, if it ever does. Recently, new research has surfaced that shows the effects of a bad job in one’s early 20s and 30s on overall health. Researchers found that job satisfaction in the early years of employment had a direct correlation with mental health in one’s 40s.  

They discovered that employees who were dissatisfied with their careers early on ended up scoring lower on mental health surveys than those who were okay with, or satisfied with, their jobs. This meant that those who reported not liking their jobs in their 20s and 30s had more depressive symptoms, including depression, trouble sleeping, and pervasive anxiety. Their mental health was found to be worse even than that of people who started out with high job satisfaction that has since declined. This has revolutionary implications for the employment of young people.

Perhaps, though younger employees are taught to expect less-than-satisfying jobs when they begin in the workforce, they should be taking the time to find employment they actually like, and should not be staying in careers in which they are not satisfied. The subjects of the study were only surveyed in their youth and early 40s, but the pervasive effects of mental illness can worsen physical health as people get older.

Sleep deprivation, for example, is directly related to poor health. People who do not sleep well on a continuous basis are at a higher risk for a number of diseases the longer their sleep deprivation lasts. They are more likely to be obese, for example, have diabetes, suffer from hypertension and heart disease, develop mood disorders, have reduced immune functioning, drink more alcohol, and have a lower life expectancy overall. Anxiety and depression that pervade due to job dissatisfaction can also raise the risk of cardiovascular diseases and issues. So, while the physical effects of low job satisfaction in younger employees were not concerning, there is a chance they will get worse as employees age.

This has radical implications for mental health overall. Now, we must look forward to discover how to mitigate the mental health effects of a bad job. This may require more investing in employees by all companies, or even instituting mental health care programs in all workplaces. Either way, more research must be done.

For more information and other news about mental health, go to the New Horizon Counseling Center website.

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