People concerned that they may lose their jobs are more likely to develop asthma than those in secure employment, a new study suggests.

Job insecurity has been linked to poor health outcomes and researchers decided they wanted to look into whether or not fears about employment could trigger asthma.

They examined 7000 working adults in Germany in 2009 - a period of severe economic downturn across Europe.

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Participants were asked how likely it was that they would lose their job in the next two years and were also quizzed about a number of health issues including whether or not they had asthma.

During the two-year follow-up period, researchers identified 105 new cases of asthma.

Those who had "high job insecurity" had a 60 per cent increased risk of developing asthma when compared to those who reported no or low fears about their employment, they found.

"Job insecurity, which has increased during Europe's recent economic recession, has been shown to be associated with adverse health outcomes," the authors wrote.

"This study, which was conducted among a German adult population during the recent economic crisis, has shown for the first time that perceived job insecurity may increase the risk of new-onset adult asthma."

The experts from Germany, the Netherlands and New Zealand called for more research to examine their findings.

Commenting on the study, Dr Samantha Walker, director of research and policy at charity Asthma UK, said: "Stress is a well-known trigger for asthma symptoms - 69 per cent of people with the condition say it causes them to experience asthma symptoms that may lead them to have a potentially life-threatening asthma attack - but there is limited evidence to date to link the stress associated with job uncertainty to the development of asthma.

"Years of underfunding of asthma research means that there is still much for us to learn so we urge researchers to explore these findings in more detail."

- PAA