When Resources Are Tight at Work, Older Workers Feel the Stress
Older workers feel significantly more stress than younger ones when employers don’t provide them with sufficient resources to do their jobs well, according to a study conducted by researchers at Portland State University in Oregon. This study is part of a larger project to improve employee health, occupational safety, and work-life balance and well-being.
The researchers surveyed 243 municipal public works employees aged 24 to 64 over the course of one year. They found that stress levels in both younger and older workers were lower when they were given more autonomy at work, had good relationships with their supervisors, and felt they were well-respected and treated fairly at work. However, when these resources were lacking, older workers reported higher stress levels – which can lead to a number of health problems – than their younger colleagues.
The study’s authors say these findings suggest support at work allows older workers to better adapt to psychological and physical changes associated with aging. This is becoming increasingly important as the number of U.S. workers 55 and older continues to grow each year. By 2020, older workers will account for nearly a quarter of the workforce, according to estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.