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brainless muppets die earlier

hbns | 25.05.2002 09:44



Workers with little latitude for decision making die earlier than employees with more flexibility, even if the latter have high-stress jobs, according to a new study.
"The lack of control a person had in his or her job substantially increased the hazard of death," says Benjamin C. Amick III, Ph.D., of the University of Texas School of Public Health at Houston. The research team says this is the first study to examine the psychosocial impact of working conditions over the cumulative life course of a representative sample of U.S. working adults.

Workers with little control in their jobs were 43 to 50 percent more likely to die during a period of five to 10 years than workers who had high-stress jobs but more decision-making responsibilities.

The study, published in the May/June issue of Psychosomatic Medicine, included more than 25,000 subjects who were employed for a minimum of three years. Information was collected annually starting in 1968 and ending in 1991.

Study participants were categorized into four work states: high demands with low decision latitude, low demands with high decision latitude, low demands with low decision latitude and high demands with high decision latitude.

The low demands/low decision state, which the study defines as passive work, may reflect jobs that are largely lacking in meaningful content, the authors suggest.

"This alienating work could result in social disengagement and/or adoption of high-risk behaviors that lead to a higher risk of death," Amick says. "In addition to the amount of job control a person has during a working life, the meaningfulness of work may be an important contributor to [risk of dying]."

Because this study was designed to look at cumulative effects on workers over their entire lives, the researchers were also able to show that the longer blacks lived, the lower their relative risk of dying. This may reflect the finding that blacks are more likely to die young than whites.

Overall, being employed seemed to have a protective effect or, if viewed the other way, being unemployed may undermine people's health and increase their risk of dying.

The study was funded in part through grants from the National Institute of Aging and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

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Display the following 3 comments

  1. me again — muppets ?
  2. Title chosen in Poor Taste — BlackPope
  3. toxics and accidents — laura