Ask Dr. Nandi: Job dissatisfaction has negative health effects by age 40

Posted at 5:56 PM, Aug 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-22 17:56:06-04

Over 6,400 Americans participated in this Ohio State study that began in 1979 when they were between the ages of 14 and 22.

It found job satisfaction during your 20’s and 30’s played a role on one’s physical and mental health by the age of 40. Researchers looked at the health of those who were happiest with their jobs and compared them with those who were miserable. 45 percent of the participants consistently disliked their jobs over the years and 15 percent of them were consistently happy.

What health issues did participants report?
Those who were unhappy with their job in their early career said they were more depressed, worried and had trouble sleeping in their 40s. They were also more likely to be diagnosed with emotional problems.  Those whose job satisfaction started off low but improved as they aged, didn’t have those health problems.

Could these health problems lead to more serious health problems?
Those with increased anxiety and depression could lead to cardiovascular and other health problems that won’t’ show up until later in life.

What are your prescriptions?
A 2014 report found about 52 percent of Americans were unhappy with their job.  To help improve job satisfaction, here are my prescriptions:

Partha’s RX on strategies to improve job satisfaction:

1. If you Can’t Change Your Job, Change Your Attitude
Use positive thinking to change your thoughts.

2. Create Social Support
Take the time to get to know co-workers or customers and you’ll get more meaning from your work.

3. Be Grateful
Find one thing each day and focus on it.  The more you look for benefits, the more if feeds you psychologically.

4. Create New Challenges
Take on a new project that will motivate you, boost your confidence which provides job satisfaction.

Did those who had job satisfaction suffer with any issues?

Yes, they still had health issues.  Doctor-diagnosed health problems like diabetes and cancer were about the same between the two groups.