Azara Blog: Another pointless psychological study

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Date published: 2005/11/18

The BBC says:

Unhappy workers are more likely to become ill, according to a new study.

People with low job satisfaction are most likely to encounter emotional burnout, reduced self-esteem, anxiety and depression, say researchers.

Even a modest drop in job satisfaction could lead to burnout of "considerable clinical importance", the report warned.

The study of 250,000 employees was carried out by Lancaster University and Manchester Business School.

Depression and anxiety were now the most common reasons for people starting to claim long-term sickness benefits, overtaking illnesses such as back pain, it found.

Professor Cary Cooper, of Lancaster University Management School, urged employers to seriously tackle the issue with "innovative policies".

"This would be a wise investment given the potential substantial economic and psychological costs of unhappy or dissatisfied workers," he said.

"Workers who are satisfied by their jobs are more likely to be healthier as well as happier."

Gee whiz, what a surprise. Another pointless piece of "research". And even worse, they seem to confuse correlation and causation. All they have found is a correlation (i.e. a link) between job satisfaction and all sorts of other things you would expect there to be a correlation with. But to state that "even a modest drop in job satisfaction could lead to burnout" (or any of the other conclusions they are trying to imply) is claiming a causation which has not been demonstated. With the claimed (trivial) correlation you could equally well state that "burnout can lead to a drop in job satisfaction" (again with no proof of the purported causation). Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Business schools should stick to producing MBAs.

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