Getting along with your colleagues may not only be good for your work satisfaction and productivity, it could be good for your health, too.

That’s according to a new study, published in the May issue of Health Psychology, that looked at the medical history of more than 800 people working in finance, insurance, public services, health care, and manufacturing companies between 1988 and 2008.

The team of researchers, led by Arie Shirom at Tel Aviv University in Israel, looked at peer social support in terms of the participants’ perception of how supportive and friendly their colleagues were to them. The researchers found that a high level of peer social support was associated with a lower risk of mortality. When also looking at the participants’ age, they found peer social support to have a protective effect only for people aged between 38 and 43. Interestingly, support from supervisors was not associated with mortality rate.

The researchers also looked at the effect of the participants’ decision power in their jobs. While high decision power was associated with reduced mortality in men, the researchers found that the opposite was true in women. That it is more typical for men than women to hold high-power positions at the types of companies studied may at least partly explain the finding, Shirom said in a press release.

“Peer social support, which could represent how well a participant is socially integrated in his or her employment context, is a potent predictor of the risk of all causes of mortality,” the researchers wrote in the paper. (By Elisabeth Pain)

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