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Jobs Don't Stress Most Older Workers

And just one in five worry about losing employment, survey found

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Older American workers appear to have relatively low levels of job-related stress, a new study shows.

A team of University of Michigan researchers examined 2006 data on 1,544 people ages 53 to 85 who worked at least 20 hours per week.

Of the study participants, just over half were male, 87 percent were white, about 8 percent were black, and 7 percent were Hispanic. Overall, they had an average of 14 years of education.

"In general, older workers did not report high levels of work-related stressors," Gwenith Fisher, a researcher at the U-M Institute for Social Research, said in a prepared statement.

The study found that only 15 percent of study participants said their work often or almost all the time interfered with their personal lives.

"Many older workers are empty-nesters," Fisher noted. "They don't have the same work-personal conflicts that younger and middle-aged workers deal with, juggling responsibilities to children along with their jobs and personal needs."

Among other findings from the study: Two percent of the workers said their personal lives interfered with their jobs; slightly more than 50 percent agreed that they have competing demands being made on them at work; and 47 percent said that time pressures are a source of job stress.

Only 19 percent said they have poor job security.

"Given what we know about the extent of age discrimination at work and the current economic climate regarding unemployment, this is a surprisingly low number," Fisher said.

She and her colleagues also found that workers who experience less job stress are more satisfied with their life and have better overall physical health than those with higher levels of work stress.

The study was presented at the annual meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, in San Francisco.

More information

There's more on work stress at the American Psychological Association.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: University of Michigan, news release, Nov. 19, 2007

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