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Work-Related Stress May Raise Women's Diabetes Risk

Increased risk among middle-aged women not explained by confounding factors

THURSDAY, Dec. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Middle-aged women who are under psychosocial stress at work have a higher risk of developing diabetes than their non-stressed counterparts, according to a study in the December issue of Diabetes Care.

Alexandros Heraclides, and colleagues at the University College London Medical School conducted a study of 5,895 Caucasian middle-aged men and women who did not have diabetes at baseline and who were followed up for 15 years.

For women, the risk of diabetes doubled when they reported experiencing low levels of work social support, but no such association was found for men, the researchers note. When the investigators took socioeconomic position and outside work stressors into account, there was no impact on the findings, while the effects of work-related stress were only attenuated by 20 percent once the data was adjusted for obesity, health behaviors and other risk factors for type 2 diabetes.

"High job demands, low job control, and low work social support were not individually associated with type 2 diabetes, supporting the theory that the combination of the three is toxic to health," the authors write. "Despite the fact that the reliability of the job demands scale is not high, we are confident that psychosocial work stress was accurately assessed in our study using the iso-strain model, and that the observed association with incident type 2 diabetes is a valid one."

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