Work-related Stress and Type 2 Diabetes: Is There a Link?

Man at work holding his forehead with papers in front of himIt has been hypothesized that work-related psychosocial stress can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. But some observational epidemiological studies that have examined this relationship have provided an unclear picture.

In a study, researchers looked at whether work-related psychosocial stress is linked to the risk of type 2 diabetes. They defined work-related stress by a work-related stress model or by long work hours.

Their findings appeared online in February 2012 in the article “Work-related stress and type 2 diabetes: systematic review and meta-analysis.” The article will appear in an edition of the journal Occupational Medicine.

For the purposes of this study, a systematic review of the literature was performed through March 2010. Studies that were eligible to be included in this study were published observational epidemiological studies that involved adults in a community or occupational setting.

Another inclusion criterion was the measurement of stress at the time of or prior to assessment of a subject’s type 2 diabetes status. Included studies measured stress based on a validated work-related stress model, or by number of hours worked.

The researchers identified 9 studies: 4 prospective studies, 4 cross-sectional studies, and 1 case-control study.

Where possible, the researchers performed meta-analysis to obtain summary odds ratios of the relationship between work-related stress and type 2 diabetes.

Did Researchers Find a Link Between Work-related Stress and Type 2 Diabetes?
The research team found that the meta-analyses did not show any statistically significant relationships between any aspects of work-related psychosocial stress or job strain and risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

According to the meta-analysis that the researchers conducted, the hypothesis that a work environment characterized by elevated psychosocial stress is directly linked to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes could not be supported.

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