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Lacking autonomy at work may literally kill us

Stress at work
Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Just (another) one of those days.
  • Cassie Werber
By Cassie Werber



The Covid-19 pandemic has been stressful in so many ways that it can be hard to tease apart the strands of what’s getting us down or freaking us out. But amidst the health concerns, family worries, and social distancing strangeness, increased work stress certainly stands out as a widespread consequence of the pandemic.

In this environment, a new study titled “This job is (literally) killing me” seems particularly timely.

The study, by researchers at Northern Illinois University and Indiana University, used data collected over a 20-year period to find out whether there is a link between how we feel at work and when we die. Sure enough, the researchers discovered that two specific factors—having a high-stress job and low control over one’s work—were correlated with higher mortality rates.

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