13th April 2009
Stress: A promotion can have
a detrimental effect on mental
Researchers have found that promotion increases stress levels by up to 10 per cent – and gives up to 20 per cent less time to visit the doctor.
The increased pressure may come from heavier workloads, extra responsibility and reduced leisure time.
Economists and psychologists at the University of Warwick analysed 1,000 individual promotions between 1991 and 2005. They knew that people in high positions tend to have better health, and expected that their research would reflect this.
But researcher Chris Boyce, who worked with Professor Andrew Oswald, said: ‘Getting a promotion at work is not as great as many people think.
‘Our research finds that the mental health of managers typically deteriorates after a job promotion, and in a way that goes beyond merely short–term change.
‘Just because people in managerial positions find themselves to be healthier does not necessarily mean this is as a direct result of their occupational positions.
‘These findings suggest that there are other determining factors because we found that there were no physical health benefits at all.
‘When it came to mental health we found that promotions actually make people feel more stressed – meaning promotions may not actually be good for your health.
‘It’s not completely clear why this is but it may be that promotions are not the best route for everybody due to increased pressure and stress levels. We found that some people just don’t cope in certain positions.
‘There are no indications of any health improvements for promoted people other than reduced attendance at GP surgeries, which may itself be something to worry about rather than celebrate.’