Workers that are concerned they may lose their job are more likely to give lower self-reported health ratings than their peers that don’t have the same job concerns. Job insecurity is also tied with an increase in anxiety and depression symptoms according to a study published in the September issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.


Survey data was gathered from 440 working adults that lived in southeast Michigan, one of the hardest hit regions during the Great Recession, in 2009 -2010. Nearly 1 in 5 workers perceived that their job was at risk and this perception, whether or not it was likely to become a reality, led to a self-reported poor health rating that was three times greater than the rest of survey participants.


Two other key findings from the study include:


  • Workers concerned about job security were four times more likely to report anxiety symptoms
  • Concerned workers were seven times more likely to report symptoms of depression

Sarah A. Burgard, Ph.D. and her colleagues at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, conducted the study. According to Dr. Burgard, "The study provides some of the first available evidence on the extent and distribution of perceived job insecurity and its association with health in the wake of the Great Recession.” Source: American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine


This study provides us with a glimpse into the health impacts of the Great Recession. The fact that workers concerned with losing their job reported more health concerns, even though they didn’t actually face the challenges of unemployment, is most intriguing to me. Obviously, concern about job security is stressful and stress has negative impacts on health, but seeing the dramatic increase in self-reported depression symptoms when compared to their peers really shows the impact of this stress.

Job insecurity tied to lower worker health
Concerns about job security tied to an increase in poor self-reported health ratings.