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Allostatic load and work conditions


Schnorpfeil, Pia; Noll, Alexander; Schulze, Renate; Ehlert, Ulrike; Frey, Karl; Fischer, Joachim E (2003). Allostatic load and work conditions. Social Science & Medicine, 57(4):647-656.

Abstract

Adverse work characteristics and poor social support have been associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and other adverse health outcomes in otherwise apparently healthy adults. We undertook a cross-sectional study to evaluate the relationship between objective health status and work characteristics in industrial workers in Germany. Volunteers (n=324) were recruited from a representative random sample (n=537) of employees of an airplane manufacturing plant. Psychosocial work characteristics were assessed by the 52-item, 13-subscale salutogenetic subjective work analysis (SALSA) questionnaire, which assesses potentially salutogenic and pathogenic conditions. Factor analysis revealed three factors: decision latitude, job demands and social support. Biological health status was determined by the revised allostatic load score with 14 components: body-mass index, waist-to-hip ratio; systolic and diastolic blood pressure; plasma levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), tumor-necrosis factor-alpha, HDL, cholesterol, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate; glycosylated hemoglobin; urinary cortisol, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and albumin. Score points were given for values in the high-risk quartile (maximum=14). General linear models revealed that older individuals and men had significantly higher allostatic load scores than younger participants or women. Of the SALSA factors, only job demands related significantly to allostatic load. The effect of demands was stronger in older individuals. Post-hoc analysis showed possible positive associations between high job demands and blood pressure or CRP, and between low social support and nocturnal excretion of cortisol or plasma levels of CRP. We conclude that this cross-sectional study on industrial employees found a weak association between a health summary score based on objective medical data and self-reported adverse work characteristics.

Abstract

Adverse work characteristics and poor social support have been associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and other adverse health outcomes in otherwise apparently healthy adults. We undertook a cross-sectional study to evaluate the relationship between objective health status and work characteristics in industrial workers in Germany. Volunteers (n=324) were recruited from a representative random sample (n=537) of employees of an airplane manufacturing plant. Psychosocial work characteristics were assessed by the 52-item, 13-subscale salutogenetic subjective work analysis (SALSA) questionnaire, which assesses potentially salutogenic and pathogenic conditions. Factor analysis revealed three factors: decision latitude, job demands and social support. Biological health status was determined by the revised allostatic load score with 14 components: body-mass index, waist-to-hip ratio; systolic and diastolic blood pressure; plasma levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), tumor-necrosis factor-alpha, HDL, cholesterol, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate; glycosylated hemoglobin; urinary cortisol, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and albumin. Score points were given for values in the high-risk quartile (maximum=14). General linear models revealed that older individuals and men had significantly higher allostatic load scores than younger participants or women. Of the SALSA factors, only job demands related significantly to allostatic load. The effect of demands was stronger in older individuals. Post-hoc analysis showed possible positive associations between high job demands and blood pressure or CRP, and between low social support and nocturnal excretion of cortisol or plasma levels of CRP. We conclude that this cross-sectional study on industrial employees found a weak association between a health summary score based on objective medical data and self-reported adverse work characteristics.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:2003
Deposited On:10 Oct 2012 14:47
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:59
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0277-9536
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S0277-9536(02)00407-0
PubMed ID:12821013

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