M&As increase risk of anxiety: Study

Lack of control, job insecurity cause stress
By Amanda Silliker
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 03/26/2012

James Aw, medical director of the Medcan Clinic in Toronto, recently saw a patient, a financial industry executive, whose company merged with an investment firm. The firm featured executives who were “high-octane, Type-A guys who really hustled,” the patient told Aw, while his company moved a bit more slowly. To deal with the stress surrounding the merger, the executive spent more late nights at work, drank more, stopped exercising and slept less, he said.

“The other institution was very hungry and aggressive and it had a different culture and so marrying those two cultures was a challenge,” said Aw. “People respond in different ways — some people get energized by being inspired to be like that other person but, when there’s a merger happening, you’re kind of looking over your shoulder.”

Mergers and acquisitions (M&As) can be very stressful for employees and increase their risk of general anxiety disorder (GAD), according to a study from the University of Calgary. Employees who are exposed to M&As are 2.8 times more likely to be diagnosed with GAD within one year than those who are not.