The latest issue of Wired has a fascinating article about stress. In addition to its effect on our physical bodies, the articles examines how stress is produced from being part of a social hierarchy. According to some studies cited in the article, being at the bottom of a social ladder produces harmful stress. This is not just because of the work but because those at the bottom have less control over their work. Those who we might consider to have “high-stress jobs,” such as doctors or lawyers, don’t feel the same negative effects of this stress since they have more control over their daily activities. Those working low-trust jobs, particularly in bureaucratic organizations, have higher death rates than those at the top, even controlling for other factors.
Apparently, the article is not available online but you can read some of the opening here on a Wired blog.