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Study finds reduced health among workers in dead-end jobs

Many variables influence job satisfaction in North Carolina. While pay is certainly a big factor, and a new study concludes that issues like schedule flexibility, job security and opportunity for advancement also influence the physical/mental health of workers.

Researchers analyzed data collected from roughly 6,000 adults who responded to the General Social Survey. They compared responses related to their employment situations alongside answers about physical health, mental health and on-the-job injuries. The data helped the researchers drill down into the relationship between health and poor working conditions, such as harassment or the threat of job loss. People working in dead-end jobs that offered very little opportunity for advancement or control over work duties had the greatest chance of being in poor health. Even well-paying dead-end jobs, like manufacturing assembly line work, produced negative health outcomes.

Other people employed in work labeled precarious, such as jobs that don't allow full-time hours or short-term contracts, reported similarly poor levels of health. The authors of the study hoped that lawmakers would take their findings into account when creating workplace regulations, especially as the employment landscape relies increasingly on contract workers.

A person hurt on the job might feel especially vulnerable when reporting an injury or illness and seeking workers' compensation benefits. An employer might discourage reporting the injury, or the insurer might limit or deny coverage for medical treatment and lost pay. An attorney could help an injured worker to access benefits. Legal counsel might arrange for the person to receive an independent medical exam and organize evidence that documents the need for care. Negotiations with the insurer might result in a settlement, but an attorney might recommend advancing the case to the courtroom when necessary.

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