Those who are fearful of losing their job are 60% more likely to develop asthma for the first time due to stress. These findings come from an international team of researchers who analysed data from over 7,000 workers and took other factors (such as smoking and being overweight) into account.
“This study has shown for the first time that perceived job insecurity during the recent economic crisis may increase the risk of new-onset asthma in adulthood,” states the paper, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
Supporting previous studies linking stress to the development of asthma, this research was carried out by experts at the Massey University in New Zealand, the University of Amsterdam and the University of Düsseldorf. It was found that those with ‘high’ levels of job insecurity had about a “60% excess risk of asthma”.
The results came from respondents of the German Socio-Economic Panel Study – an annual survey of the German population between the years 2009 and 2011. During this time there were 105 new cases of asthma and it was revealed that those concerned about losing their jobs had a higher chance of developing asthma.
In response to the research, director of Research and Policy at Asthma UK, Dr Samantha Walker said the following:
“Stress is a well known trigger for asthma symptoms; 69% of people with the condition say it causes them to experience asthma symptoms that may lead them to have a potentially life-threatening asthma attack, but there is limited evidence to date to link the stress associated with job uncertainty to the development of asthma.”
While further research may be needed to clarify the claims made, this study serves as a reminder that stress has a huge impact on our physical health as well as our mental health.