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Study Shows Job Promotion Leads to Poor Mental Health

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

New research from the University of Warwick shows that getting a job promotion seems to lead to poor mental health. The scientist studied the effect of mental strain associated with getting a job promotion. They found that mental health declined by ten percent, despite the long held notion that job advancement should increase feelings of self-worth, leading to better mental health. The study also found that being promoted also leads to less time spent at the doctor’s office.

The researchers extracted data from the British Household Panel Survey, gathered annually between 1991 and 2005. The data reflected job promotion among 1000 individuals. They found that though, perception of overall health remained the same, the study also revealed that those promoted to better jobs visited their doctors less. The British population studied experienced poor mental health, because of increased job stress.

“Getting a promotion at work is not as great as many people think. Our research finds that the mental health of managers typically deteriorates after a job promotion, and in a way that goes beyond merely a short-term change, “says Chris Boyce, a University of Warwick researcher.

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The study shows that higher job status does not lead to better overall health, and actually leads to poor mental health, despite widely held beliefs that job status is linked to self-esteem and emotional well-being.

The authors say job promotion may not be a cause of celebration, but rather a cause of worry. Mental strain and less time spent visiting the doctor may be the result of finding a more demanding “better job”, leading to poor physical and mental health.

The authors write, “Temporary upturns in the economy are bad for people’s health.” Job promotion typically seems to lead to poor mental health. We may need to be careful about our wishes for a job promotion. Our health is truly our greatest asset.