Why Loving (Or Hating) Your Job Can Affect Your Health

15/03/2011 12:59 | Updated 22 May 2015

woman-at-work-officeLove your job? Score three mental health points. Photo: Getty

It's no secret that if you have a job you enjoy and find fulfilling it can have positive effects on your health - both mentally and physically. But just how badly can a job you don't enjoy affect you?

That's the question asked by researchers at the Australian National University in Canberra, whose study suggests that having a 'bad' job affects your wellbeing as negatively as having no job at all.

So what exactly is a bad job? The researchers describe it as a job that's not just badly paid but also overly demanding and stressful with little job security or control over what you do at work. And if you have such a job, you could be worse off in terms of mental health than people who have no job at all, the experts suggest.

The study, published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, quizzed more than 7,000 Australians about various aspects of their job as well as about being unemployed. Those who didn't have work scored lower in terms of mental health than those who had jobs. But having what they determined a bad job also significantly lowered their mental health scores, they noticed.

So while finding a good job after being unemployed might improve your mental health by an average of three points on a mental health scale, having a poor quality job showed a loss of 5.6 points.

The study blasts the idea that any job is better than no job, the researchers claim.

What is it about your job that you love - or hate?

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