Workers who keep their jobs following cuts are almost as likely to need treatment for stress as colleagues who were made redundant, BBC Online reports.
University College London researchers, writing in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, said more help should be offered to “survivors.”
They examined records of prescriptions given to Finnish municipal workers after redundancies in the mid-1990s. The UCL team compared evidence of mental health problems such as stress and anxiety in 5,000 workers who remained in post after ‘downsizing,’ comparing them to 4,000 who lost or left their jobs.
They found men made redundant or who left during downsizing were 64 per cent more likely than those in unaffected workplaces to receive prescriptions for antidepressants and sleeping pills.
However, their former colleagues still working were not far behind, with men having a 50 per cent increased chance of being prescribed such drugs.
In women the effect was smaller, with no increase in the prescriptions following redundancy, but a slight increase in women who held onto their jobs in a downsized unit.
Men were more likely to receive antidepressants, women more likely to get drugs to counter anxiety.
They suggested the reason for the difference between male and female responses might be partly due to cultural differences around how the importance of work was perceived.