University of Michigan study: Job insecurity is worse for your health than being unemployed
Having little peace of mind that your job is safe is worse for your health than losing a job or being unemployed, according to a recent study.
According to University of Michigan sociologist Sarah Burgard, changes in the U.S. labor market have weakened employer-employee bonds and fueled a sense of job insecurity.
This brand of vulnerability can impact the health of workers more negatively than smoking or hypertension in some cases, said Burgard, a research assistant professor at the U-M Institute for Social Research.
The study by Burgard, U-M colleague James House and Jennie Brand is published in the current issue Social Science and Medicine.
The researchers analyzed data from two nationally representative sample surveys on almost 2,000 adults. One survey was conducted between 1986 and 1989, the other between 1995 and 2005. Subjects were interviewed at different points of time to explore connections between job insecurity and health, with information collected over periods from three to 10 years.
Burgard stated that ambiguity about the future, inability to take action unless the feared event actually happens, and lack of support in institutions regarding worker insecurity are three factors leading to health declines associated with high job insecurity.
The findings probably apply more broadly in this global economic recession, Burgard stated. Juliana Keeping covers the University of Michigan for AnnArbor.com. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-623-2528.