Job-Related Stress Increases Health Care Costs

September 1, 2011 ( – Researchers in Canada have found that people in medium- to high-stress jobs visit family doctors and specialists more often than workers with low job stress.

The study, published in BMC Public Health, found the number of visits to health care professionals is as much as 26% for workers in high-stress jobs.  

The study also shows that estimates for the association between high job strain and family doctor and specialist services are similar for males and females. For males, medical services utilization increases by 26% for the high job strain category compared with the low job strain category, while for females, the excess use of health care services due to high strain is 23%.  

“We believe an increasing number of workers are using medical services to cope with job stress,” study co-author Mesbah Sharaf said in a statement, according to UPI. “There is medical evidence that stress can adversely affect an individual’s immune system, thereby increasing the risk of disease. Numerous studies have linked stress to back pain, colorectal cancer, infectious disease, heart problems, headaches and diabetes. Job stress may also heighten risky behaviors such as smoking, drug and alcohol abuse, discourage healthy behaviors such as physical activity and proper diet, and increase consumption of fatty and sweet foods.”  

The researchers analyzed nationally representative data from the Canadian National Population Health Survey for people ages 18-65.  

The study is available at