Is job insecurity making employees sick?

Horizontal view of stressful situation at work

Job-related stress is causing the American workforce to suffer from both physical and mental ailments, according to new research from Ball State University.1 This study indicates that heart disease, loss of sleep and psychological distress are common among employees who feel their jobs are not secure.

The research was compiled from an analysis of 17,441 people who participated in the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), collected annually on a broad range of health topics through personal household interviews. Over a 12-month period, one in three (33 percent) of survey respondents perceived their job to be insecure. Those who reported being job insecure:

  • had significantly higher odds of being obese, sleeping less than six hours a day, smoking every day, missing work for more than two weeks and experiencing a decline in their general health in the past year;
  • were nearly five times more likely to have had a serious mental illness within the past 30 days than those who were not insecure about their jobs;
  • were significantly more likely to report pain conditions (i.e. headaches, neck pain, and low back pain), and lifetime histories of having ulcers, diabetes, hypertension, angina pectoris, and coronary heart diseases1.

“Job insecure individuals will not be able to maintain good health and with time, will suffer from chronic diseases leading to healthcare and productivity loss-related costs for employers across the country,” said Jagdish Khubchandani, a community health education professor at Ball State University and the study’s lead author. To resolve this issue, employers need to take action to ensure a health-conscious workforce, he said.

MHN Can Help

Health Net, Inc.’s behavioral health subsidiary, MHN, offers an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through which members can receive support for stress, or access work-life services for help with childcare, eldercare and more. In addition, MHN’s EAP member website features articles, videos and tools for members on stress management, time management and whole-person well-being. To learn more about MHN, please visit, call 1-800-327-7526 or email

1 “Association of Job Insecurity with Health Risk Factors and Poorer Health”, Journal of Community Health, April, 2017

This article is for informational and self-help purposes only. It should not be treated as a substitute for financial, medical, psychiatric, psychological, or behavioral health care advice, or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified professional.

Managed Health Network, LLC (MHN) is a subsidiary of Health Net, Inc. The MHN family of companies includes Managed Health Network, MHN Services and MHN Government Services. Health Net and Managed Health Network are registered service marks of Health Net, Inc. or its affiliates. All rights reserved.




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Bret Smith