Retail work: a pit of psychological distress?

It’s a truism of modern life that some of the most demanding and stressful jobs also happen to be among the lowest paid. You can probably place retail work in that category.

Especially when you consider fresh research that reveals it’s often a dungeon of despair and dismay – and that’s despite the smiles that come your way when you enter a store.

It’s a surprise you’re even presented with a smile because in this study, published in the Journal of Business Research, 20,000 retail workers were compared with 1.1 million non-retail workers, and the results were abysmal. The data spanned a period of 18 years so the scholars could determine whether the problem has been getting worse. They discovered retail workers reported significantly higher rates of psychological distress than any other profession.

But that’s not all. While psychological distress seems to be relatively stable among the rest of the workforce, it’s worsening for those in retail.

Psychological distress isn’t a term used lightly. To qualify for that condition, employees had to complete an empirically proven test that assessed how often they felt “worthless” and “so depressed that nothing could cheer [them] up”. Read more

James Adonis – Brisbane Times – 16 November 2018