Job satisfaction in your 20s and 30s may impact your health later – CBS News

Everybody has bad days at work, but 20- and 30-somethings who are generally unhappy with their jobs
may experience?some health backlash by the time they reach?their?40s?, new
research suggests.

A number of previous studies have found links?between job satisfaction? and?physical and mental?health. Now?researchers?from The Ohio State University?say their work shows that?happiness on the job
(or lack thereof) appears to?have?the biggest impact on midlife mental health.

For the study, the researchers analyzed data from a bigger
study conducted by the state of Ohio for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics?starting in 1979 that included information on
job satisfaction.

Lead study author?Jonathan Dirlam,?a
doctoral student in sociology, told CBS News, ?We thought this
would be great to use in a study on job satisfaction and its
health effects?
over the life course. Very few if any studies have done this, so we thought it
would make for an interesting contribution to this topic.?

They followed the job trajectories of study participants
from the time they were 25 up until age 39, sorting them into four groups:
consistently lower job satisfaction, consistently high job satisfaction, people
whose satisfaction started low but trended higher, and those who started high
but declined?over the years.

About 45 percent of participants consistently reported feeling
lower than ?very satisfied? when it came to job satisfaction. Another 23
percent trended downward?as the years passed.?About
17 percent reported an increase in job satisfaction over time, and about 15
percent of people were consistently happy at work throughout?their 20s and 30s.

?We found that those with lower job satisfaction levels
throughout their late 20s and 30s have worse mental health compared to those
with high job satisfaction levels. Those who initially had high job
satisfaction but downwardly decreased over time also had worse health,? Dirlam

They?were more likely to?report depression?, sleep problems? and excessive worry,?and scored lower on a test of overall mental health, the researchers said.

The study, presented this week at the annual meeting of
the?American Sociological Association,
suggests there is a cumulative effect when it comes to job satisfaction, and it?s?reflected in your health by your early 40s.

Dirlam pointed out an important distinction in?the study?s?terminology,?noting that the lowest group did not report low satisfaction levels at
work, ?but rather, lower than ?very satisfied.?? The lowest group still had
average satisfaction levels around ?satisfied.?

?The majority of people are either ?very satisfied? or ?satisfied?
with their job. But we find that even the subtle distinction between ?very
satisfied? and ?satisfied? has significant effects on your health. I would say our
study?s main findings are you?re likely to have worse health if you don?t love
your job rather than if you hate your job,? said Dirlam.

The study did not include the time period of the?recent ?Great Recession,? which began in
December 2007 and ran about two years. The author noted, though, that
job satisfaction levels?? in the U.S. have been declining since the 80s, a trend?he expects to continue as?the long-term effects of the Great
Recession are felt.

?The main reason is due to increased job insecurity. People
are not as sure if they will always have their job today compared to 30 years
ago. Having more permanent occupations would help increase satisfaction levels,?
he explained.

While income is important to consider when you?re first
launching your career, Dirlam said, ?It may be more beneficial for overall life
satisfaction to take a job with slightly less pay if that job will give you
higher job satisfaction. Most people spend almost half of their waking life at
work and it?s important that you are able to find some joy during this time.?

Job satisfaction in your 20s and 30s may impact your health later – CBS News

Recommended For You..