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Mentally, Unemployment Better than a Bad Job?
There is more mental stress associated with a bad, crappy paying job than is with being jobless, according to a new study in the Journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
Data from more than 7,000 people of working age in Australia since 2001 revealed that the unemployed had poorer mental health overall than those with jobs. However, the study authors also found that the mental health of people with badly paid, poorly supported or short-term jobs could be as bad as, or even worse, than that of those who were jobless.
People with the poorest quality jobs experienced the largest decline in mental health over time. The researchers found a direct association between the number of unfavorable working conditions and mental health, with each additional negative job aspect reducing a person’s mental health score.
“Work-first policies are based on the notion that any job is better than none as work promotes economic as well as personal wellbeing, wrote the authors. “Psychosocial job quality is a pivotal factor that needs to be considered in the design and delivery of employment and welfare policy.”
The authors concluded that very demanding jobs that give people little control over their work — and that provide little support or financial reward — are not good for health.