Employment, Work, and Stress

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Principal Investigator: Judith Siegel

The influence of work on health (and health on work) has long been a focus of research in public health and other disciplines. Job satisfaction is a robust predictor of longevity, and has been shown to covary with demographic attributes, characteristics of the employment situation (e.g., job demands, job latitude), and current economic conditions, such as recession. The available data linking economic climate with either job satisfaction or indicators of health status rarely incorporates repeated assessment of the same individual over time. The current research begins with two data sets, from collaborative projects of mine, that have assessments of job satisfaction (including job stress) and health status (health behaviors) from the same individuals during two points in time, separated by unforeseen changes in their current employment situation (as well as the larger economy). Contrary to what many would expect, it appears that as threat to job stability emerges, job satisfaction increases, rather than decreases. Impact on health behaviors has not yet been explored. Simultaneously, efforts are underway to secure population-based samples, which have included the relevant variables, to determine if observed outcomes can be generalized more widely.