Promotions Bring Stress and Headaches

April 9, 2009 ( - Being promoted at work may often mean a bigger paycheck, but the higher professional status may be bad for your health, according to a new U.K. study.

A news release from the University of Warwick said research by economics and psychology researchers found that a professional promotion on average produces 10% more mental strain and gives up to 20% less time for doctor visits.

Researchers Chris Boyce and Professor Andrew Oswald drew on the British Household Panel Survey data set, collected annually between 1991 and 2005, with information on approximately 1,000 individual promotions.

The result: There was no evidence of improved physical health after promotion nor a decline in self-assessed feelings of health. Rather, Boyce and Oswald found “significantly greater mental strain,” according to the news release. The researchers said increased stress levels of promoted workers may simply grow out of the stepped-up job responsibilities, which may translate into less time to visit a doctor.

“Getting a promotion at work is not as great as many people think,” said Boyce, in the announcement. “Our research finds that the mental health of managers typically deteriorates after a job promotion, and in a way that goes beyond merely a short-term change. There are no indications of any health improvements for promoted people….”

The study is available here .