Service workers more stressed than doctors, architects - study

  • 24/10/2016

A recent study suggests menial, "thankless" jobs can cause people the most amounts of stress, and are the most damaging to health as a result.

The study, published in US journal Neurology, categorised low-stress jobs as those with low demand and high control, such as scientists and architects. High-stress jobs are those with high demand and low control, such as most jobs in the service industry, including waitressing and nursing aids.

It categorised passive jobs as those with low demand and low control, such as janitors and manual labourers. Active jobs were those with high stress and high control, such as doctors, teachers and engineers.

The analysis found that people with high-stress jobs had a 58 percent higher risk of ischemic stroke - the most common type of stroke - compared to those with low-stress jobs. Those with passive and active jobs did not have any increased risk of stroke.

The researchers calculated that 4.4 percent of the stroke risk was due to the high-stress jobs. For women, that number increased to 6.5 percent.

"Having a lot of job stress has been linked to heart disease, but studies on job stress and stroke have shown inconsistent results," said Dingli Xu, doctor of medicine at Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China.

"It's possible that high-stress jobs lead to more unhealthy behaviours, such as poor eating habits, smoking and a lack of exercise."

Jennifer J Majersik, associate professor of neurology at University of Utah, said based on the study considerations should be made to increasing job control to improve public health, "such as decentralisation of decision-making and flexibility in job structure, such as telecommuting".