Industrial Health
Online ISSN : 1880-8026
Print ISSN : 0019-8366
Social Stress at Work and Change in Women’s Body Weight
Maria U. KOTTWITZSimone GREBNERNorbert K. SEMMERFranziska TSCHANAchim ELFERING
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JOURNALS FREE ACCESS Advance online publication

Article ID: 2013-0155

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Abstract

Social stressors at work (such as conflict or animosities) imply disrespect or a lack of appreciation and thus a threat to self. Stress induced by this offence to self might result, over time, in a change in body weight. The current study investigated the impact of changing working conditions − specifically social stressors, demands, and control at work − on women’s change in weighted Body-Mass-Index over the course of a year. Fifty-seven women in their first year of occupational life participated at baseline and thirty-eight at follow-up. Working conditions were assessed by self-reports and observer-ratings. Body-Mass-Index at baseline and change in Body-Mass-Index one year later were regressed on self-reported social stressors as well as observed work stressors, observed job control, and their interaction. Seen individually, social stressors at work predicted Body-Mass-Index. Moreover, increase in social stressors and decrease of job control during the first year of occupational life predicted increase in Body-Mass-Index. Work redesign that reduces social stressors at work and increases job control could help to prevent obesity epidemic.

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© 2014 by National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health

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