SUMMARY OF RESULTS UP TO JUNE 2014
We have shown in unique, large scale studies (N=100.000) that work stress predicts life style changes and later disease (cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression) among men and women in different age groups. We have also shown that (disturbed) sleep/recovery is an essential factor in this process and that it may involve disturbed physiological sleep continuity, increased fatigue, decreased subjective health and increased inflammation. Also the reverse seems to be true – that disturbed sleep predicts stress. In addition, long-term exhaustion syndrome (an effect of long term exposure to stress) is associated with changes in serotonin receptor affinity and changed amygdala/prefrontal connectivity that may be important biological indicators of this disease. In experimental and field studies subjective health, has been linked to experimental inflammation, sleep loss and fatigue. Furthermore, sleep and fatigue predict new cases of long-term sickness absence and diagnosis of long-term exposure to stress predicts later disability pension and suicide risk. Moreover, sickness absence/presence, in itself, is linked to later disability pension and mortality, and to prior sleep problems (here sickness absence is used as an exposure factor). In clinical experiments we have shown that psychological treatment delivered over the internet or as bibliotherapy is efficient for stress related disorders. Among the pronounced causes of stress, we have found managerial use of numerical, functional and temporal flexibility in staffing, as well as job insecurity and organizational change to be important for developing further a sustainable work life that promotes healthy work in organizations using healthy work practices. We consider much of our researcH innovative and interdisciplinary. Age and gender are not only part of the research as “control” variables but several studies focus explicitly on these issues (including retirement). Together, the research groups are striving to cover the whole sequence from psychosocial factors at work to ultimate endpoints like health and mortality.