Whether you’re being over-worked, have strict deadlines to meet or have a difficult boss, it’s not unusual to feel under pressure at work. In fact, nearly 40% of all work-related illnesses in the UK stem from stress.
New, more worrying figures published last week reveal that this very stress could be shaving more than three decades off our life expectancy as well. The American study also suggests that the amount of life lost due to stress varies significantly for people of different races, education levels and genders.
Unbelievably, men and women with fewer than 12 years of education had life expectancies that were on par with most adults in the 1950s and 1960s. Why exactly do people with lower incomes and educations tend to have lower life expectancies?
Experts say this is because of differences in access to health care, nutrition and behaviours because people in this category are statistically more likely to smoke, exercise less and have a worse diet. Research also shows that job insecurity, long hours and heavy demands can drastically reduce a worker’s life expectancy.
The data from the new study also showed that people with less education are also much more likely to end up in jobs with more unhealthy workplace practices. Interestingly, those with the highest educational attainment were found to be less affected by workplace stress.
Regardless of educational backgrounds, the researchers found that certain factors had a bigger hit on life expectancy than others. Across all groups, unemployment, layoffs and lack of health insurance (in America where healthcare is not free) were the factors that exerted the biggest influence.
Low job control was the next biggest influence for both men and women, followed by job insecurity for men and shift work for women.
If you think that you could be suffering from stress or anxiety, please feel free to visit our Depression and Anxiety Treatment Programmes page for more information about the signs, symptoms and treatments that are available.