Blog scientist
Oceans on brink of mass extinction: study
Brain exercises delay mental decline
Meaning of life changes across cosmos
Ancient Nubians drank antibiotic beer
First mission to touch the Sun
There's gold in them thar bacteria!
Low vitamin D linked to schizophrenia
Weight loss may be toxic: study
Pilbara find points to earliest life
Researchers uncover dance moves to impress
Visual trickery key to luring lover
Scientists find short-sightedness gene
Artificial 'skin' can sense pressure
Study confirms antibiotics mess with gut
Phone chatter could power mobiles
Stowaways found hitching ride on seaweed
Fishing could feed millions more: report
Amateurs make an astronomical impact
Study reveals new piece in autism puzzle
Genome map may help devil fight cancer
Report says ozone layer depletion stopped
Moon's surface at saturation point
Gene sweeps nets female cancer clues
Australia birthplace of astronomy: study
Bad jobs affect mental health
We all know that having a bad job can make you unhappy. But new research has found it's worse for your mental health than not having one at all.

In research published today in the journal BMC Public Health, Australian National University (ANU), researchers found that people who remained unemployed were likely to be happier than those who gained employment in a 'poor' job.

The researchers defined a poor job as one with little job security, an unrealistic workload or little control over managing workload, or no prospects.

Previous research has shown that employed people have better mental health than unemployed people, so efforts to promote mental wellbeing and social inclusion focus on getting people back to work.

But it's not that simple, says Dr Liana Leach from ANU's Centre for Mental Health Research.

"Any job is not necessarily better than no job at all. And it's not about a particular type of job," says Leach. "Poor conditions can occur in any kind of occupation."

The researchers studied around 4000 people living in Canberra and Queanbeyan. Participants completed a survey about their employment status and conditions as well as their mental wellbeing. The same survey was repeated four years later.

The findings are important for both employers and programs aiming to get people back to work, says Leach.

"Programs are often focused on getting people into any type of work as quickly as possible. This study shows that if that's without a focus on moving people into work that satisfies them, benefits in mental wellbeing and social exclusion aren't likely."
Positive approach

But it's not all doom and gloom. A similar study by Leach and her colleague Dr Peter Butterworth of more than 7000 people across Australia found that people who move from unemployment to a high-quality job tend to see an improvement in wellbeing.

"That's the positive side - if we can get people into good quality work then we see an improvement in terms of depression and anxiety. It means these factors are modifiable - employers can change things that will have an impact on their employees mental health," says Leach.

Dr Tessa Keegel, a research fellow at the McCaughey Centre at the University of Melbourne, says the study provides evidence that poor quality jobs can be harmful to health.

"This research is particularly relevant at the moment as Australia moves out of the global financial crisis and employment opportunities start to open up," says Keegal.

"In a just and fair Australia there should be no 'disposable workers' who are left behind in poor quality jobs which are harmful to their health."

Census charts world beneath the seas
Wonder carbon nets pair Nobel Physics Prize
Focus on chest for CPR: study
Bull ants have right eye for the job
Carbon chemistry pioneers share prize
Ancient galaxies found in modern universe
Solar surprise for climate models
Study predicts end of world as we know it
Rare plant has biggest genome yet found
Astronomers find long-lost lunar rover
Flight paths may be bad for the heart
Complex Haitian quake triggered tsunamis
US doctors usher in 'dawn of stem cell age'
Changing demographics impact CO2 levels
Sleeping in lit room leads to weight gain
Harsh conditions create sterile workers
Study finds pigeons love a flutter
Humpback whale beats long-distance record
Survey to dive deep into Australian waters
Bad jobs affect mental health
Hubble captures suspected asteroid crash
Mysterious pulsar has astronomers in a spin
Native rice may hold key to food future
Future LEDs may be what the doctor orders
Bilingualism good for the brain
Organ consent needs thought transplant
Cavemen ground flour, prepped veggies
Fossilised iceblocks shed light on early life
Water on Moon bad news for astronomy
Human eye evolved to see dark world
Wind could have parted sea for Moses
CERN scientists spot potential discovery
Malaria crossed to humans from gorillas
Horny find uncovers Triceratops' predecessor
Time passes quicker for high flyers
Da Vinci's ornithopter takes flight
Software smart bomb aimed at Iran: experts
High oestrogen levels may impact brain
Quantum leap towards computer of the future
Study finds predictive power of search
Cardio routine can nurture sweet dreams
Restored Apollo 11 footage to be screened
'Extinct' animals back from the dead
Astronomers find home away from home
Study locates our sense of direction
Records reveal First Fleet's wet welcome
Dinosaurs taller thanks to thick cartilage
Free mammograms 'should start at 40'
Grunting slows opponent's reaction time
Colour preferences shaped by experience
Father of IVF wins Nobel prize
Happiness more than gene deep
Visit Statistics