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Recession pushes stress through the roof

Recession pushes stress through the roof

Large new study shows recession increases work-related stress by 40 percent. New research shows that one in four workers experience work related stress in times of recession.

The study published today in the scientific journal, Occupational Medicine, shows that work related stress increases by 40 percent during an economic downturn. It also found that the number of staff taking time off due to job stress increased by 25 percent and total time off due to these types of psychological problems increased by more than a third during a slump. The findings are a stark warning to employees and employers at a time when gloomy predictions of Britain’s economic prospects suggest a ‘double dip’ recession. The Society of Occupational Medicine claimed that the results showed firms that they should use occupational health services or risk long term damage to their productivity. “Occupational health provision is even more important in times of recession as specialists can help with the stress caused by mounting workloads, organisational change and job uncertainty. We can help businesses look at how they manage stress levels and improve the working environment for workers,” said Dr Henry Goodall, President of the Society of Occupational Medicine.

The large study undertaken by researchers at the University of Nottingham and University of Ulster questioned tens of thousands of civil servants in Northern Ireland. It compared the findings of two surveys. The first was conducted in 2005 prior to the onset of the recession and the second in 2009 whilst the economy was severely hit. Scientists assessed how exposed respondents were to the pressures of work by looking at areas such as the demands of the job, control over work and the support they felt they had from managers. They also measured workers perceptions of how stressed they were at work and how much time they had taken off because of work related stress. The findings show the importance of focusing on looking after workers mental health and wellbeing during austere economic times.

Jonathan Houdmont, the study’s lead author, commented: “We were fortunate to have access to staff survey data collected before the emergence of initial signs of a forthcoming recession and again four years later at the height of the recession. The stark differences in the responses given at these two time points clearly show that national economic crises can have substantial implications for workers’

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