1 day of paid work a week is all we need for mental health benefits, claims study


EXCERPT: As automation advances, predictions of a jobless future have some fearing unrest from mass unemployment, while others imagine a more contented work-free society. Aside from economic factors, paid employment brings other benefits -- often psychological -- such as self-esteem and social inclusion.

Now, researchers at the universities of Cambridge and Salford have set out to define a recommended "dosage" of work for optimal wellbeing. They examined how changes in working hours were linked to mental health and life satisfaction in over 70,000 UK residents between 2009 and 2018*. The study, published ... in the journal Social Science and Medicine, shows that when people moved from unemployment or stay-at-home parenting into paid work of eight hours or less a week, their risk of mental health problems reduced by an average of 30%.

Yet researchers found no evidence that working any more than eight hours provided further boosts to wellbeing. The full-time standard of 37 to 40 hours was not significantly different to any other working time category when it came to mental health. As such, they suggest that to get the mental wellbeing benefits of paid work, the most "effective dose" is only around one day a week -- as anything more makes little difference. (MORE - details)

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