Everyone knows the kind of strain a bad job can put on one’s physical and mental health. If you’re somewhere you don’t want to be all day, dealing with people that exhaust you, or are just simply forced to complete a task that doesn’t sound appealing to you, it can be incredibly trying for your well-being.
While it can be relatively easy to see the negative effects of working a bad job in the short-term, it can be harder to imagine what effects your work will have further down the line. According to Jonathan Dirlam, a doctoral sociology student at Ohio State University, “We found that there is a cumulative effect of job satisfaction on health that appears as early as your 40s.”
This new study actually shows that people who have low levels of job satisfaction in their 20s and 30s may ultimately have an increased risk of mental health problems later in life. In the research, 6,500 people from a study which began in 1979 provided health information (the group is now in its 40s).
It was found that the group who reported initial job dissatisfaction–and did not see improvement in their feelings towards their work in the last decade–fared the worst.
In this group, people were 46% more likely to be diagnosed with emotional problems than those who experienced consistently high job satisfaction. The group was also discovered to be more likely to have worse general mental health, higher levels of depression, and more difficulty sleeping than those who found improved job satisfaction over time.
Researchers did, however, concede several limitations of the study. One possible factor of inaccuracy is the study’s inability to account for pre-existing health conditions. Thus, it could very well be a possibility that pre-existing health problems ultimately contributed to career dissatisfaction, or that different symptoms will begin to come to light as people age.
Yet, if the study holds true, and low job satisfaction ultimately impacts one’s mental health, then the downward trend in professional career satisfaction will surely not bode well for those who’ve experienced long-term problems at work.