Being A Waiter Or Waitress Is One Of The Most Stressful Jobs You Can Do, Study Suggests

Next time you're dining out, spare a little thought for the person serving your food.

A new study has suggested that being a waiter or waitress is one of the most stressful jobs and can therefore have a detrimental effect on an individual's health.

The research, conducted by scientists at Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China, analysed data from six previous studies on job-related health involving a total of 138,782 participants.

Looking at reported job stress, the study found that jobs with high demand and little situational control, such as waitressing, may be more stressful than jobs with high demand and high situational control, such as teaching.

Jobs were classified into four groups for the study based on how much control workers had over their jobs and the psychological demands of the job.

The job demands included time pressure, mental load and coordination burdens. Physical labour and total number of hours worked were not included.

Looking at the data, the researchers split jobs into the following categories:

  • Passive jobs: Jobs with low demand and low control, such as caretakers, miners and other manual labourers.
  • Low stress jobs: Jobs with low demand and high control, such as natural scientists and architects.
  • High stress jobs: Jobs with high demand and low control, usually those in the service industry, including waitresses and nursing aides.
  • Active jobs: Jobs with high demand and high control, such as doctors, teachers and engineers.
  • The researchers then looked at the possible health implications of being placed in each of these four categories.

    The analysis found that people with high stress jobs, such as waiters and waitresses, had a 22% higher risk of stroke on average than those with low stress jobs.

    People in passive and active jobs did not have any increased risk of stroke when compared to people placed in the low stress job category.

    When they split the participants again by gender, the scientists found that women with high stress jobs had a 33% higher risk of stroke than women with low stress jobs.

    Commening on the findings, lead researcher Dingli Xu said more research is needed to determine whether job stress is directly linked to increased risk of stroke, or whether external factors linked to job stress are to blame.

    "Having a lot of job stress has been linked to heart disease, but studies on job stress and stroke have shown inconsistent results," he said in a statement.

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

    This is not the first study to suggest our jobs can have an impact on our long-term health.

    Pervious studies have suggested that working for long hours or clocking on at unsociable times can increase our risk of cognitive decline and even cause our brains to age prematurely by as much as six years.

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