Job Tension in Middle Age Leads To Hospital Stays Later, Study Finds

In we-already-knew-that-but-thanks! news, a new study from Finland published in Age and Ageing has found that persistent job strain in middle age leads to more illnesses in life later on. Job strain can be broken down into two types — physical and mental — but for women, it's the physical strain evidenced by muscle strain and breathlessness that's most likely to land us in the hospital. (As if we needed more proof we're more emotionally-resilient.)

The survey has been ongoing since 1981, when a research team took baseline data from a sample of 5,000 Finnish public sector employees, then combined it with hospital data spanning over the next 28 years. The correlative pattern of job stress leading to illness continued when members of their sample population turned older than 65 and hit retirement.

For instance, for every 1,000 men with low physical job strain, about eight days were spent in inpatient hospital care every year, on average. That compared to almost 13 days for every 1,000 men with high physical job strain, according to findings published in Age and Ageing.

Gerontologist and lead researcher Mikaela von Bonsdorff said that recent studies have already tied job stress to lower functioning in later years. This study seems to follow this pattern — but with an interesting twist.

While men are susceptible to old-age consequences of middle-age physical and mental strain, women don't seem to be as bothered by the mental aspect of on-the-job stress. Instead, most likely to affect us are the aches and pains that come from "certain sorts of occupations, such as manual occupations or low-level service occupations like being an electrician, caretaker, driver, builder, cleaner, waiter, waitress, cook or shop assistant," Loretta Platts, an Imperial College London doctoral candidate not involved in the research, said.

Well, that sounds like just about every post-grad recession job. Girl's gotta work.