The study involved tracking over 17,000 working adults from Stockholm aged under 64, between 2002 and 2007. At the beginning of the study each participant was asked to complete a questionnaire in order to determine their mental health and stress levels.
During the observation period 649 of the participants began receiving disability benefits, with 203 suffering from a mental health problem and the remaining number having been affected by physical ill health.
The researchers found that high stress levels at the beginning of the study were linked to a higher chance of individuals being awarded long term disability benefits, but surprisingly those with mild stress were also 70 per cent more likely to receive disability benefits after taking account of other factors likely to influence the results, such as lifestyle.
One out of four of these benefits was awarded for physical illness such as high blood pressure and stroke and two thirds of the benefits awarded for mental illness were attributed to stress.
The authors of the study hope their findings will be considered in the context of modern working life, which see’s a great deal of pressure placed upon employees.