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Does Working In a Hostile Work Environment Affect Your Health?

April 07, 2015 2 min read

Recently the company I work for hired a new general manager, this person quickly came in and tried to change many things up and prove they were the correct person for this job. In doing so they ruffled employees feathers and created an over depletion in company morale.

When you have a bad day at work do you notice how everything else seems worse. If you have to deal with a difficult co-worker or boss it can make your work life seem almost unbearable…does this affect your health?

A hostile work environment can affect employee’s morale and create a more stressed environment. Stress is just as harmful to your health as sicknesses; stress causes hypertension, depression and death.

In a 20 year study done by Tel Aviv University, 820 adults were studied ranging in age from 25-65. The study was to examine the relationship between the workplace and a person’s risk of death. In 1988 all the study participants underwent a routine physical exam and were interviewed about their work environment. They were asked if their boss supported them and if their colleagues respected them, etc. The study’s participants held a variety of jobs including health care, insurance, fiancé and manufacturing they were truly from all walks of life.

The researchers tracked the participants using their medical records from 1988 to 2008. At the end of the study 53 people had died and they were more likely than the people who had lived of having a hostile work environment.

They found out the people who didn’t feel supported by their co-workers were 2.4 times more likely to die than those who felt close to their co-workers. The participants were affected more by co-worker support than having a horrible boss. It turned out feeling unsupported by the boss didn’t affect your life line.

Another topic the study touched on was autonomy, turned out men who said they didn’t have autonomy were more likely to die than those men with autonomy. But the opposite thing happened for the women, women who had more power at work had a 70% increased risk of death.

I guess it is true, if you don’t get along with co-workers, if you aren’t given enough independence at your job or are being harassed this could make you stress more and in turn affect your health and even cause you die earlier. Think about that next time you are having a bad work week, these people and these stupid situations are taking days, weeks or even years off your life…is it worth it?


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