A study published by University College London (UCL) has revealed that people in jobs that provide mental stimulation later in their career are less susceptible to dementia.
The study examined 108,000 patients in places as disparate as Europe, the US and the UK and looked at the relationships between work and chronic disease, disability and mortality.
Mental stimulation was assessed at an average age of 45, then participants were evaluated over the next 17 years to see if dementia developed.
According to the researchers, jobs that offer cognitive stimulation include those that promote demanding tasks and “job control”. Conversely, jobs that offer low stimulation do not make cognitive demands or allow workers much influence over what happens in their work environment.
They found that dementia occurred in 4.8 per 10,000 persons in the group classified as working high stimulation occupations, whereas that figure was significantly higher (7.3) in those in low stimulation occupations.
Professor Mika Kivimaki, lead author of the report from UCL’s Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care, said: ‘Our observational findings support the hypothesis that mental stimulation in adulthood may postpone the onset of dementia. The levels of dementia at age 80 seen in people who experienced high levels of stimulation was observed at age 78.3 in those who had low mental stimulation.’
The Workers Union on Quality Work
The results of this study make interesting reading for anyone concerned about the nature of the work they do. A satisfying working life means different things to different people of course, but nobody should be under any illusions that some jobs offer minimal rewards and monotony to the people that carry them out.
This is bad for working families and bad for our collective health as a nation.
We have been talking about improving the quality of jobs (not just the quantity) for some time. We believe that this is the fastest and most reliable way of upskilling the workforce for the future. We also believe that it’s the best way to offer working people more reliable work, better wages and greater autonomy in their working lives.
The Workers Union – fighting for social justice, fighting for you