Job insecurity increases symptoms of anxiety, depression

Symptoms of anxiety and depression and ratings of poor health have increased in workers who perceived their jobs were not secure, even among workers who avoided unemployment in the late 2000s recession, according to study results published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

“The study provides some of the first available evidence on the extent and distribution of perceived job insecurity and its association with health in the wake of the Great Recession,” the researchers stated.

Researchers analyzed data on 440 working-aged adults living in southeast Michigan in 2009 and 2010. Using logistic regression, researchers compared the health of participants who perceived job insecurity with those who did not, with adjustments for objective employment problems and social characteristics.

Overall, nearly 18% of participants perceived that it was “fairly likely” that they would lose their job or be laid off within the next year. Workers who experienced job insecurity were three times more likely to rate their health as fair to poor vs. workers who perceived their jobs as more secure, according to study results. Researchers also found that workers with job insecurity were four times more likely to report symptoms of anxiety attacks and seven times more likely to have symptoms suggesting minor or major depression. These effects were significant after adjustment for other characteristics.

They concluded that interventions to target workers who may have had mental and physical health effects of job worries should be implemented.

For more information:

Burgard SA, Kalousova L, Seefeldt KS. Perceived job insecurity and health: The Michigan recession and recovery study. J Occup Environ Med. 2012.

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.

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