Are Your Coworkers Toxic To Your Health?

TOXICWorking college students were more likely to have mental health problems if they had toxic relationships with co-workers than if they were on friendly terms with colleagues in a small new U.S. study.

?If you think about a typical 24-hour day for a college student, aside from sleeping, students are going to school and studying and also working part-time, four hours a day on average,? lead study author Allison Vaughn, a psychology researcher at San Diego State University, said by email.

?It makes sense that the people a college student works with would also have the potential to be health-relevant,? she added. ?Students who need to work their way through school should try to make the most of these workplace relationships, just as you would with any friendship or romantic relationship.?

Many college students work during school, with estimates ranging from 58 percent to 72 percent of undergraduates, Vaughn and colleagues write in the Journal of American College Health. Working at least 20 hours a week is also a reality for 24 percent to 47 percent of these students.

To understand the connection between students? relationships at work and their mental health, the researchers surveyed 170 working students enrolled in an introductory psychology class in March 2011.

Students ranged in age from 18 to 35, and on average were about 20 years old.

Most participants worked part-time, averaging about 19 hours a week, and had typically held their current jobs for about 15 months.

The questionnaires touched on the quality of relationships with supervisors and up to three co-workers, job satisfaction and mental health issues such as stress, depression and anxiety.

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