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Occup Med (Lond). 2012 Apr;62(3):167-73. doi: 10.1093/occmed/kqs002. Epub 2012 Feb 14.

Work-related stress and Type 2 diabetes: systematic review and meta-analysis.

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  • 1Cherry Hinton Medical Centre, 34 Fishers Lane, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire CB1 9HR, UK.



Work-related psychosocial stress has been hypothesized to increase the individual risk of Type 2 diabetes; however, observational epidemiological studies investigating the association between work-related psychosocial stress and Type 2 diabetes have provided an inconsistent picture.


To evaluate whether work-related psychosocial stress (defined by a work-related stress model or by long work hours) is associated with the risk of Type 2 diabetes.


A systematic review of the literature was conducted until March 2010. Studies eligible for inclusion were published observational epidemiological studies of adult participants in community or occupational settings if they had a measure of work-related stress on a validated scale or a measure of work hours or overtime assessed prior to, or at the same time as, assessment of Type 2 diabetes status. Where possible, meta-analysis was conducted to obtain summary odds ratios of the association.


We located nine studies (four prospective, one case-control and four cross-sectional). The meta-analyses did not show any statistically significant associations between any individual aspect of work-related psychosocial stress or job strain and risk of Type 2 diabetes.


The specific hypothesis that a working environment characterized by high psychosocial stress is directly associated with increased risk of Type 2 diabetes could not be supported from the meta-analysis.

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