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Researchers explore link between childhood health and happiness and adult job stress

Researchers from the Menzies Institute for Medical Research at the University of Tasmania have found that a broad range of childhood factors are associated with job stress in adulthood.

The unique 25-year follow-up study, published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, compared data on factors such as school enjoyment, childhood socio-economic position and some markers of physical and mental health in childhood with the development of job stress later on.

Few early life factors have been explored in relation to adult job stress before. The lead author of the study, Dr Seana Gall, pictured, said the work provides new information about the complexity of workplace stress.

“These findings highlight that job stress in adults is complex and multifactorial and associated with a range of individual factors across the life course, and so characteristics of the job itself should not be viewed in isolation,” Dr Gall said.

“Our results show that healthy childhood experiences contribute to a healthy, productive work life into adulthood.”

The study is part of the larger Childhood Determinants of Adult Health study (CDAH), a longitudinal study that is continuing to follow up participants first surveyed in the 1985 Australian Schools Health and Fitness Survey. In the job stress study the researchers studied between 999 and 1,390 participants in each analysis.

The study was supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council, the National Heart Foundation and Veolia Environmental Services.

Wang S, Sanderson K, Venn A, Dwyer t, Gall S; Association between childhood health, socioeconomic and school-related factors and effort-reward imbalance at work: a 25-year follow-up study; Occup Environ Med 2018;75:37-45.

Published on: 20 Dec 2017 9:23am