The bosses’ blues

Ever wish you had a voodoo doll of your boss? Well, in a sociologicalsense, you already do, a new University of Toronto study suggests.

Ever wish you had a voodoo doll of your boss? Well, in a sociological sense, you already do, a new University of Toronto study suggests.

Anger and carping directed at superiors may actually be making them less healthy than they should be, according to the paper.

Published online yesterday by the journal Social Science and Medicine, the study attempts to explain why people with more authority in the workplace lack the expected physical and psychological benefits that their paycheques and power should provide.

U of T sociologist Scott Schieman, the study’s lead author, said such things as better incomes and more intriguing and autonomous work would be expected to make bosses healthier than their subordinates.

But in particular, Schieman says, there are two types of common stresses often faced by bigwigs.

“One is that they are exposed to more interpersonal conflict in the workplace, problems with other people, directing other people’s work, incompetent workers,” Schieman says. “The other thing is they tend to bring work home with them more often than others who don’t have authority.”

And on a host of broad health indicators like chest pain, stomach pain and insomnia, bosses fared no better than their underlings.

 
 
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