Researchers at Tel Aviv University found that workers who had positive interactions with their colleagues at work were less likely to die over a 20-year period than workers who did not feel they had emotional support at work.
Baseline data from 820 participants who underwent health examinations in 1988 was obtained. Data from their health records including socioeconomic, behavioral, and biological risk factors were examined, in addition to the Job-Demand-Control-Support (JDC-S) model components of workload, control, peer social support, and supervisor social support. Follow up data from subjects was obtained in 2008 from their Health Management Organization. During the 20-year period of time 53 deaths were recorded.
Risk factors for mortality such as physiological issues and health behaviors were taken into account, and the main effect of high versus low levels of peer support remained. An interaction of perceived control and gender demonstrated lower mortality risk for high control males, but higher mortality risk for high control females.
Interestingly, mortality risk was not influenced by relationships with supervisors, but only peers. Viewing a boss as unsupportive did not affect mortality.
The author states in the conclusions that “Peer social support is a protective factor, reducing the risk of mortality, while perceived control reduces the risk of mortality among men but increases it among women.”