Though many studies have found that people in work generally benefit from better mental health than those who are unemployed, very little research has been conducted into how individuals feel about their jobs when they are employed.
What the researchers found in this particular study was that people who are actually unemployed can be better off in terms of mental health than those who are in jobs they don’t enjoy or are in jobs considered to be of low ‘ psychosocial quality’.
Jobs which are badly paid, temporary, demanding, insecure or which involve a poor manager can all contribute to an individuals mental health.
The Australian team of researchers wrote the following in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine: ‘This study has shown that work of poor psychosocial quality, characterised by low job control, high job demands and complexity, job insecurity and the perception of unfair pay, does not bestow the same mental health benefits as employment in jobs with high psychosocial quality.’
‘In fact, we found that moving from unemployment to a job with poor psychosocial quality was associated with a significant decline in mental health relative to remaining unemployed.’
The researchers found that going from being unemployed into a high-quality job led to improvements in mental health and well-being. Whereas going from unemployment into a poor quality job actually had negative affects on mental health.
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