Report: Job Insecurity Could Cause Employee Illness

July 6, 2017
A Ball State University report analyzed National Health Interview Survey data to determine how health and job security are related.

Job-related stress is causing the American workforce to suffer from both physical and mental ailments, according to new research from Ball State University.

The Association of Job Insecurity with Health Risk Factors and Poorer Health report, which was published in the Journal of Community Health, indicates that heart disease, loss of sleep and psychological distress are common among employees who feel their jobs are not secure.

“The perceptions of job insecurity in American workers are serious and a source of severe chronic stress causing health problems,” said Jagdish Khubchandani, a community health education professor and the study’s lead author in a statement. “Job insecure individuals will not be able to maintain good health and with time, will suffer from chronic diseases leading to healthcare and productivity loss-related costs for employers across the country.”

The report was compiled from an analysis of 17,441 people who participated in the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). The data is collected annually on a broad range of health topics through personal household interviews.

Over a 12-month period, about 33 percent of all NHIS survey respondents reported job insecurity, and males were 14 percent more likely than females to report serious job insecurity. The results also found that job insecure individuals in the United States are more likely to be male, racial minorities or multiracial adults with less than a college degree and 45-64 years old.

Also among the study’s findings, individuals who reported their job were insecure also were more likely to be obese and smoke, have short sleep duration and not engage in regular physical activity.

Males and females reported different health issues. Females indicated higher rates of asthma, diabetes, work-life imbalance, worsening general health in the past year and pain disorders, including migraine and neck pain. Males who felt their jobs were insecure were more likely to miss more than two weeks of work in the past year and suffer from severe chest pain, ulcers and hypertension, according to the report.

To resolve this issue, employers need to take action to ensure a health-conscious workforce, Khubchandani said.

 “To tackle the anxiety and fear of job loss in workers, American employers can use effective measures such as improving communication between management and worker,  reducing conflicting or uncertain job responsibilities, establishing a program to recognize workers’ accomplishments, providing opportunities for workers to participate in company decisions and actions affecting their jobs, establishing employee assistance programs, assisting workers with improving work-life balance by using flex time, job sharing, work from home, eldercare and child support programs,” he said.

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