Researchers from Ohio State University, in Columbus, started with data from 6,432 participants in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, conducted in 1979, to study the impact that early job satisfaction has upon health as we age.
The new study examined reports of job satisfaction on a scale of one (dislike very much) to four (like very much) for participants between the ages of 25 and 39. Then they compared the responses to mental and physical health reports measured after the participants turned 40.
Those who reported low job satisfaction throughout their 20s and 30s exhibited higher levels of emotional problems, depression, sleep problems and excessive worry. Individuals who started out satisfied with their jobs but became less satisfied over time also faced sleep and anxiety difficulties, but exhibited less depression. The participants who reported increasing job satisfaction in their 20s and 30s reported fewer mental health problems.
The correlation between physical health after 40 and early job satisfaction was not as strong, but university associate professor of sociology Hui Zheng notes, “Increased anxiety and depression could lead to cardiovascular or other health problems that won’t show up until they are older.”