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Poor work-life balance increases risk of ill health, UK study suggests

Tim Goode

By Ella Pickover, PA Health Correspondent

People with a poor work-life balance are more likely to suffer ill health, a new study has found.

Those who struggle to achieve a balance between their professional and personal lives are twice as likely to report physical ill health, according to the study published in the journal BMC Public Health.

Data on more than 32,000 working European men and women was examined, including information on 1,600 Britons.

Researchers found the association between self-reported ill health and a poor work-life balance was slightly more pronounced among women compared to men.

But men were more likely to report poor work-life balance.

The authors said their findings can be used by employers to “create a good working atmosphere and flexible working time to deal with issues of jobs strain in order to reduce health problems”.

The study’s lead author, Aziz Mensah, a doctoral researcher at the University of Bielefeld, Germany, said: “Traditional and societal expectations of behaviour for men and women, where women are responsible for caregiving and household activities and men responsible for paid work, may explain the gender work-life imbalance and adverse health outcomes we observed.”

Dr Nicholas Kofi Adjei, co-author of the study from the Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology – BIPS, Germany, added: “Long working hours, increased psychological involvement in work, inflexible working times and role overload can all contribute to work-life conflict among employees.”

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