Today's example of bizarre correlations comes research from the journal Injury Prevention. Canadian researchers have discovered that overqualified recent immigrants are three times more likely to be injured on the job than their local, less-educated peers.
By looking at 63,462 responses to the 2003 and 2005 Canadian Community Health Surveys, the researchers found that both new immigrants and those who were overqualified for their job were more likely to get injured — and when you combine both factors, it's a particularly dangerous combination. By adjusting for other variables, this increase in danger eventually lowered to a threefold more likely chance of being hurt.
So, we have the correlation, but what in the world could be the causation? With highly educated people, especially immigrants, scrabbling for any job they can, why are they so much more likely to be hurt. The authors theorize two effects, saying:
"Those who are over-educated may not have the knowledge and skills required to perform their job safely, and language barriers and lack of familiarity with the country may get in the way of being able to understand or voice health and safety concerns. Having a higher level of education than required may also lead to lack of solidarity among colleagues or to conflicts with supervisors, which may in turn reduce [their] ability to establish alliances that can help with the regulation of their workload or to obtain other forms of assistance."
So, social isolation. But that doesn't help explain why, once other variables were accounted for, it was prevalent in men but not women. Does one gender socialize more widely than the other? If you buy that, and are a Ph.D. student working at a Starbucks, keep your hands well clear of that coffee grinder. Especially if you just moved.