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Researchers Find Promotion Is Bad For Mental Health And Makes You Stop Visiting The Doctor

April 10, 2009

New research by economics and psychology researchers at the University of Warwick has found that promotion on average produces 10% more mental strain and gives up to 20% less time to visit the Doctors.

In a research paper entitled “Do People Become Healthier after Being Promoted” Chris Boyce and Professor Andrew Oswald of the University of Warwick questioned why people with higher job status seem to have better health. A long-held assumption by researchers is that an improvement to a person’s job status, through a promotion, will directly result in better health due to an increased sense of life control and self-worth.

The researchers tested this.  They drew upon the British Household Panel Survey data set, collected annually between 1991 and 2005, with information on approximately 1000 individual promotions.  They found no evidence of improved physical health after promotion ““ nor that self-assessed feelings of health declined.

What they did find, however, was significantly greater mental strain.  After a job promotion, there was on average a 10% decrease in people’s mental health measured in a standardized way across the British population.  Intriguingly, those promoted at work also reported on average a 20% fall in their visits to a Doctor following their promotion.  On first sight this drop in Doctor visits does not match the lack of change in the reported health of promoted individuals. But the increased stress levels of promoted workers may provide an explanation — part of the stress on  promoted people may be more constraints on their time and they simply have less time to visit a doctor.

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