Study: Unhappiness at Work Leads to Poor Overall Health

September 12, 2016

6:00 pm

A good job is the envy of every millennial in the world. With a struggling job market and a shifting business landscape, many struggle to find the right fit for their career. A position that fits your personality, your productivity, and your field is pretty hard to come by these days. And while you might think finding the right job is not a necessity, one study showed that it could be a lot more important than you think.

According to data from the American Sociological Association, job dissatisfaction in your 20s and 30s can lead to overall health issues in your 40s. While physical health was notably effected by a lack of happiness in the workplace, mental health was the most significantly affected.

“We found that there is a cumulative effect of job satisfaction on health that appears as early as your 40s,” said Jonathan Dirlam, lead author of the study and a doctoral student in sociology at The Ohio State University.

Those who were increasingly dissatisfied with work as time went on saw negative health effects including trouble sleeping, excessive worry, and a generally low mental health score. They were even found to have increased back problems and frequent illnesses, like the cold. While these symptoms are concerning, depression, cancer, and diabetes were not linked to job dissatisfaction.

The study was conducted by analyzing data from 6,432 participants in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLYS), which tracks outcomes for people who were between 14 and 22 when it began in 1979. All participants rated their job satisfaction on a scale from 1 to 4 from the ages of 24 to 39. 15 percent of people started their career happy and stayed happy. 17 percent of participants who started unhappy grew happier. 45 percent of employees started unhappy and stayed unhappy. And 23 percent of people who started happy enough grew less happy as time went on.

Photo: Flickr / reinermedia

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Conor is a writer, comedian and world-renowned sweetheart. As the Assistant Editor and Writer at Tech.Co, he’s written about everything from Kickstarter campaigns and budding startups to tech titans and innovative technologies. His background in stand-up comedy made him the perfect person to host Startup Night at SXSW and the Funding Q&A at Innovate! and Celebrate, posing questions to notable tech minds from around the world. In his spare time, he thinks about how to properly pronounce the word "colloquially." Conor is the Assistant Editor and Writer at Tech.Co. You can email him at

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