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Certain Careers Can Kill: High-Stress Jobs, Decision-Making Freedom Key Factors

First Posted: Oct 19, 2016 05:20 AM EDT
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Experts link decision-making freedom in their jobs to longer lives among employees.

(Photo : George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images)

The expression “working to death” has become popular for quite some time now. And just recently, a study revealed that there is indeed such thing. Findings suggest that high-stress jobs that give employees little to no decision-making freedom can lead to early death.

According to Daily Mail, a recent study has found evidence that could back up the statement of numerous unhappy employees: Some jobs can indeed kill. Researchers from Indiana University Kelley School of Business analyzed 2,363 Wisconsin residents over a seven-year period and found that employees with high-stress jobs who have little decision-making freedom were more likely to die early. The respondents are in their 60s.

Moreover, people unhappy with their jobs often have a body mass index higher than those of employees having more control at work. This is because the former tends to smoke, eat more, and do unhealthy things to cope with their jobs’ demands. The results of the study also suggest that a high degree of discretion in one’s job could help in dealing with work-related stress; thus, leading to a healthier and longer life.

The researchers derived their data from Wisconsin Longitudinal study wherein 10,000 people were interviewed from 1957 to 2011. From there, troubling trends were found among employees with high-stress jobs. 32 percent of deaths occurred in employees with manufacturing jobs, while 26 percent of deaths were among employees in frontline service jobs. As a whole, there is a 15.4 percent increase in the chances of death among people with high-demand and low-control jobs compared with employees having low-demand jobs.

Meanwhile, micromanaging plays a big role in the aforementioned trends, CMS Wire reported. Experts say employers should stop telling employees every single thing to do. According to Erik Gonzalez- Mulé, organizational behavior and human resources assistant professor, it is important to give them decision-making freedom regarding their schedules, goals, and priorities.

The findings of the study indicate the importance of allowing employees to have a voice in different aspects of their jobs. Doing so can make a stressful job a likewise energizing one.

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