14 April 2009

Why promotion is bad for you

Agence France-Presse
Getting that hard-earned job promotion can harm your health and leave you substantially less time to visit the doctor, says a new study.
Winning a promotion

Career ladder: Researchers tested the widely held assumption that an improvement in job status leads to better health due to an increased sense of self-worth.
Credit: iStockphoto

LONDON: Getting that hard-earned job promotion can harm your health and leave you substantially less time to visit the doctor, says a new study.

Economics and psychology researchers at the University of Warwick in England found that promotion produces 10% more mental strain and leaves up to 20% less time to visit the doctor in the event of illness.

The team tested the widely held assumption that an improvement in job status leads to better health due to an increased sense of self-worth.

Using data collected in Britain on about 1,000 individual promotions from 1991 to 2005, they found no evidence of improved physical health after promotion. But they did find that people thrust into more senior jobs suffered significantly greater mental strain.

Greater mental strain

The research is due to be presented at a Royal Economic Society conference to be held at the University of Surrey, in England, later this month.

“Getting a promotion at work is not as great as many people think. Our research finds that the mental health of managers typically deteriorates after a job promotion, and in a way that goes beyond merely a short-term change,” said lead author Chris Boyce.

“There are no indications of any health improvements for promoted people other than reduced attendance at GP (General Practitioner) surgeries, which may itself be something to worry about rather than celebrate,” he added.

The researchers speculate that any evidence for better health among those who have been promoted may be because people in good health are more likely to be promoted in the first place.

###
NEWSLETTER

Sign up to our free newsletter and have "This Week in Cosmos" delivered to your inbox every Monday.

>> More information
Latest
issue
CONNECT
Like us on Facebook
Follow @CosmosMagazine
Add Cosmos to your Google+ circles

Get a weekly dose of Cosmos delivered straight to your inbox!

  • The latest in science each week
  • All the updates on our new website launch
  • Exclusive offers and competitions

Enter your name and email address below: