Job loss worries could increase chances of developing asthma
A new study from the University of Dusseldorf suggests a link between anxiety about potential job loss and the onset of asthma.
For their study, the research team analyzed data collected in the German Socio-Economic Panel Study, which surveys a representative sample of the adult German working population every year. The data came from more than 7,000 working adults who completed the survey in 2009 and 2011, when questions about asthma were included. This was also a period of severe economic downturn across Europe.
The data showed that between 2009 and 2011, 105 cases of new-onset asthma were reported among the respondents. Half of the cases occurred among women. In 2009, all the survey respondents were asked about the likelihood of losing their jobs over the next two years. The researchers found that every 25 percent increase in perceived likelihood of job loss was tied to a 24 percent increased risk of being diagnosed with new-onset asthma. Furthermore, those who thought they were very likely to lose their jobs in the next two years showed a 60 percent increased risk of developing first-time asthma, compared to those who rated the risk of job loss as low or non-existent.
Because their research was an observational study and not designed to establish cause and effect, the scientists could not say with certainty that worrying about job loss actually triggers first-time asthma. But they noted that the results are consistent with previous studies that work-related stress can increase asthma risk factors.