workplace

The jerks at work are killing you

May 16, 2011 at 7:39 AM ET

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Do you work with a bunch of jerks? Well, you might not be lying if you stand up and shout "this job is killing me!"

The risk of premature death is greatly reduced for people who report high levels of social support at their job, according to a new study published in the May issue of Health Psychology. Workers between the ages of 38 and 43 were mostly likely to be negatively affected.

Translation: If you want to live long and prosper, work at a company filled with people you actually like.

"Develop friendship ties with co-workers," if you want to counteract job strain, said professor Arie Shirom, who led the team of researchers at the University of Tel Aviv in Israel. "They will increase your social integration and allow you additional resources to buffer the effects of stresses in your life on your health."

And there's more bad news for women in managerial roles. The study found that having higher levels of control and decision-making authority increased the risk of early death for women. For men, having perceived control at work had an opposite effect.

Shirom said most of the study participants held blue collar jobs, in which men typically had high levels of control and women did not.

The researchers reached their findings after examining medical records of 820 adults, who were followed from 1988 to 2008, and questionnaires that measured job demands, control at work and peer and supervisor support.

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