Background: A vast number of published studies have suggested a link between job satisfaction levels and health. The sizes of the relationships reported vary widely. Narrative overviews of this relationship have been published, but no systematic meta-analysis review has been conducted.
Methods: A systematic review and meta-analysis of 485 studies with a combined sample size of 267 995 individuals was conducted, evaluating the research evidence linking self-report measures of job satisfaction to measures of physical and mental wellbeing.
Results: The overall correlation combined across all health measures was r = 0.312 (0.370 after Schmidt-Hunter adjustment). Job satisfaction was most strongly associated with mental/psychological problems; strongest relationships were found for burnout (corrected r = 0.478), self-esteem(r = 0.429), depression (r = 0.428), and anxiety(r = 0.420). The correlation with subjective physical illness was more modest (r = 0.287).
Conclusions: Correlations in excess of 0.3 are rare in this context. The relationships found suggest that job satisfaction level is an important factor influencing the health of workers. Organisations should include the development of stress management policies to identify and eradicate work practices that cause most job dissatisfaction as part of any exercise aimed at improving employee health. Occupational health clinicians should consider counselling employees diagnosed as having psychological problems to critically evaluate their work—and help them to explore ways of gaining greater satisfaction from this important aspect of their life.
- job satisfaction
- mental health
- physical health
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This project was funded by a grant from the UK Health & Safety Executive
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