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Int J Epidemiol. 2000 Oct;29(5):785-92.

Lifestyle risk factors for cancer: the relationship with psychosocial work environment.

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National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, The Netherlands.



Psychosocial work characteristics (job demands, control, support, job strain and iso-strain [high job strain combined with social isolation at work]) may be linked to cancer risk, by affecting cancer-related lifestyles like smoking, high alcohol consumption, low intake of fruits and vegetables and lack of physical activity.


Cross-sectional data obtained from 3309 respondents participating in an ongoing prospective cohort study in the Netherlands on psychosocial factors and cancer risk were used to study the association between psychosocial job characteristics and lifestyle. Information on job characteristics and risk factor prevalence was collected from 20-65-year-old men and women, through self-administered questionnaires. Multiple logistic and linear regression analyses were undertaken by gender, with adjustment for age and education.


No differences in the prevalence of lifestyle risk factors for cancer were found amongst the psychosocial work characteristics studied. Moreover, little evidence was found for a relation between job (or iso-) strain and cancer-related lifestyles in multivariate analyses.


The present study found no support for the hypothesis that job strain or iso-strain are associated with a cancer-related lifestyle. Further research on the role of other psychosocial factors-like personality or social support outside work-in mediating associations between job characteristics and lifestyle, is warranted.

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