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Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2010;23(3):293-312. doi: 10.2478/v10001-010-0035-2.

Description of a large-scale study design to assess work-stress-disease associations for cardiovascular disease.

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Department of Work Environment, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA, USA.


We claim that a new level of studies is needed to answer a series of important questions about the expanding global chronic disease burden for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and for related conditions such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and obesity. These require a new study design structure, related to a new level of theory that goes beyond the current single-factor, a-theoretic epidemiological studies. This new platform for the design of large-scale Work/Stress/Disease studies would assess CVD-related disease mechanisms in a more general and dynamic form, based on the use of new tools for measuring autonomic functions in an occupational stress context and a new theory of disease causation. A sample outline is presented for such a study, based on Stress-Disequilibrium Theory (SDT) hypotheses, building on analytic tools developed for the assessment of stress-related exhaustion effects and chronic disease risks from Heart Rate Variability (HRV) research studies. The goal is to assess the associations between social organizational risks, particularly at work, and hypertension, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes II. The study design is multi-stage, spanning across several levels of disease-related de-regulation, and addressing co-morbidity of the conditions themselves. The study design is meant to span across a broad social population at all levels and would probably be multi-site, involving several countries, to yield the larger sample increased power for finding associations for work - physiological effects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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