A traditional view is that police officers possess negative attitudes toward seeking professional help. However, few empirical studies have investigated help-seeking behaviour in police services. This study aimed to investigate help-seeking behaviour, gender differences, and the relationship to self-reported physical and mental health problems in the Norwegian police service. Comparisons were made with a sample of the general Norwegian population. A comprehensive nationwide questionnaire survey of 3,272 Norwegian police officers at all hierarchical levels was conducted; measurements included help-seeking, Subjective Health Complaint questionnaire (SHC), the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), Paykel's Suicidal Feelings in the General Population, alcohol and medication to cope, self reported health, and sick leave. Female police officers contacted nearly all health professionals more than their male counterparts. Help-seeking was largely unaffected by age. Less than 10% of those reporting anxiety or depressive symptoms or serious suicidal ideation had contacted a psychologist or psychiatrist. A chiropractor had been contacted by 14.5% of the sample during the past year, compared with 7% in the general Norwegian population. Anxiety symptoms were associated with seeking a chiropractor (OR 1.9, 95% CI 1.3-2.7). The strongest association with contacting a psychologist or psychiatrist was medication used to cope (OR 5.8, 95% CI 3.0-11.1). The first nationwide study on help-seeking behaviour showed that police officers sought help among specialists in private practice, physiotherapists and chiropractors relatively often. However, they contacted a psychologist or psychiatrist rarely, even when reporting serious suicidal ideation.
Developmental toxicity of N,N-dimethylacetamide (DMAC) was examined by exposing pregnant rats by inhalation to DMAC vapor at 0 (control), 100, 300, 450 or 600 ppm (v/v) for 6 h/d during Gestation Days 6 through 19. Fetal body weight and the number of male live fetuses were significantly decreased, along with a tendency of the number of intrauterine deaths to increase. The number of fetuses with visceral and skeletal malformations was significantly increased in the 450 and 600 ppm groups, while the number of fetuses with anasarca as an external malformation was increased at 600 ppm. Observed cardiovascular malformations included ventricular septum defect, persistent truncus arteriosus, malpositioned subclavian branch and retroesophageal subclavian artery. Persistent truncus arteriosus was accompanied by ventricular septal defect (VSD). Incidences of the persistent truncus arteriosus, which was classified as a serious congenital heart disease affecting postnatal survival, were increased at 450 and 600 ppm. Increased liver weights and hepatocellular swelling occurred in the dams exposed to 300 ppm and above, whereas neither hepatocellular necrosis nor increased serum activity of liver transaminases was observed in any of the exposed groups. Maternal body weights were decreased at 450 and 600 ppm. The most sensitive signs of developmental toxicity appeared at the exposure level of 300 ppm which was also the level of slight maternal toxicity. The No-Observed-Adverse-Effect-Level (NOAEL) was determined as 100 ppm for the endpoints of fetal and maternal toxicities. The NOAEL of 100 ppm and the induction of serious cardiovascular malformations occurring at 450 ppm and above were discussed with reference to the existing occupational exposure limit for DMAC.
Encouraging behavioral changes to decrease alcohol intake is not easy from the standpoint of health support. This study was conducted to examine whether the genetic diagnosis of ALDH2 polymorphism is useful in supporting those who want to decrease their alcohol intake. The participants in this study were 329 male employees who wanted to know the result of their ALDH2 genotype. We divided the 329 participants randomly into two groups. One was the "notified group" (n=157), and the other was the "non-notified group" (n=172). The subjects belonging to the "notified group" were informed of the results of the ALDH2 genotype diagnosis in April, 2003. Drinking habits and laboratory data were obtained before and after notification of the ALDH2 genotype. Among those with genotype ALDH2*1/*1, there was no significant change in drinking frequencies, nor was there any significant decline in liver function laboratory data in either of the groups before and after notification of the genotype. However, weekly alcohol intake tended to increase compared to that before notification. On the other hand, with regard to those with genotype ALDH2*1/*2, no significant changes in drinking frequencies or liver function laboratory data were evident in either group before and after notification of the genotype. However, the weekly alcohol intake tended to increase in the non-notified group, whereas it tended to decrease in the notified group. Although the result was not significant, it is suggested that, with further study and an increased sample size, the genetic diagnosis may be found to be useful.
The health status of workers in small companies has been noted to be relatively poor, but no actual comparisons of groups of variously sized companies within the same region based on the same methodology have ever been conducted. We undertook this study to clarify differences in health status according to company size. The subjects comprised workers of a Japanese steel company and various subcontractors who received health checkups in 2003. We obtained answers from 83 companies employing 11,844 workers and analyzed the data for 6,480 men aged 40 yr or more, comparing results of the health checkups, health management practices, and number of occupational health personnel according to company size (number of employees). Mean worker age in the various groups ranged from 49.7 to 54.0 yr. Drinking and smoking habits did not differ between them. There was a significant trend to higher prevalences of diabetes and hypertension, and lower prevalences of renal disease and hypercholesterolemia in smaller companies. Mean body mass index and diastolic blood pressure were significantly higher in companies with 1,000-2,999 workers. Health management practices satisfied the legal requirements of the respective company size. Occupational physicians devoted more time per worker in companies with 1,000-2,999 and 50-299 workers. No consistent differences were apparent between small and large companies in worker health status. Inter-company activities for occupational safety and health were undertaken and labor regulations almost equally adhered to. Endeavors to maintain a certain level of hygiene and health management play an important role in maintaining worker health in small companies.
To test the effectiveness of a low-intensity intervention program for smoking cessation targeting the worksite environment in employees who had a low readiness to quit, we conducted an intervention trial at six intervention and six control worksites in Japan. A total of 2,307 smokers at baseline who remained at their worksite throughout the three-year study period were analyzed (1,017 in intervention and 1,290 in control groups). The multi-component program at the worksites consisted of (1) presenting information on the harms of tobacco smoking and the benefits of cessation by posters, websites, and newsletters; (2) smoking cessation campaigns for smokers; (3) advice on designation of smoking areas; and (4) periodic site-visits of the designated smoking areas by an expert researcher. At baseline, the intervention and control groups each had high prevalence of immotive or precontemplation, that reflected low readiness to quit (71.5% and 73.2%, respectively). The smoking cessation rate, as not having smoked for the preceding six months or longer, assessed at 36 months after the baseline survey by a self-administered questionnaire was significantly higher in the intervention group than the control group (12.1%, vs. 9.4%, p=0.021). The intervention program still had a significant effect on the smoking cessation rate after multiple logistic regression analysis adjusted for sex, age, type of occupation, age of starting smoking, quit attempts in the past, number of cigarettes per day, and readiness to quit (odds ratio: 1.38, 95% confidence interval: 1.05-1.81, p=0.02). The cost per additional quitter due to the intervention was calculated to be ¤70,080. These findings indicate that this program is effective and can be implemented in similar workplaces where the prevalence of smoking is high and smokers' readiness to cease smoking is low.
This study assessed the working and family life characteristics, and the degree of domestic and work strain of female workers with different employment statuses and weekly working hours who are rearing children. Participants were the mothers of preschoolers in a large Japanese city. We classified the women into three groups according to the hours they worked and their employment conditions. The three groups were: non-regular employees working less than 30 h a week (n=136); non-regular employees working 30 h or more per week (n=141); and regular employees working 30 h or more a week (n=184). We compared among the groups the subjective values of work, financial difficulties, childcare and housework burdens, psychological effects, and strains such as work and family strain, work-family conflict, and work dissatisfaction. Regular employees were more likely to report job pressures and inflexible work schedules and to experience more strain related to work and family than non-regular employees. Non-regular employees were more likely to be facing financial difficulties. In particular, non-regular employees working longer hours tended to encounter socioeconomic difficulties and often lacked support from family and friends. Female workers with children may have different social backgrounds and different stressors according to their working hours and work status.
Many dental health workers suffer from musculoskeletal disorders in the upper extremities. In addition to ergonomic factors, psychosocial work characteristics have been linked to musculoskeletal disorders. The present cross-sectional study aimed at investigating how musculoskeletal disorders in the upper extremities (UED) and occupational position are related to work characteristics and general health problems in female dental health workers. Questionnaire data from dentists, dental hygienists and dental nurses (N=945) showed that 81% reported UED. Multivariate analysis of variance showed that dentists reported the highest levels of physical load and fatigue whereas dental nurses reported the lowest levels of influence at work. Irrespective of position, those with UED considered their physical and psychosocial work environment and their own health to be significantly poorer than did those without UED. A hierarchical multiple regression showed that the physical load of dentistry was most strongly related to UED. Despite improvements to the ergonomics and physical work environment of dentistry, it is concluded that female dental health workers are still at high risk of developing UED.
We examined whether serum γGTP activity (γGTP) is associated with Breslow's lifestyle index and whether it could be used as a tool to detect subjects with unhealthy lifestyles. To that effect, 724 male Japanese workers excluding patients suffering from hepatitis virus infection, autoimmune liver diseases and apparently active bile duct diseases were cross-sectionally examined. γGTP was inversely associated with the total score of Breslow's index for all subjects (λ=30.643) and in subjects aged 40 or more (λ=37.073). The association was consistent even after adjustments of subjects' ages and levels of triglycerides, total cholesterol and uric acid (p=0.0001). Among the seven lifestyle factors comprising Breslow's index, improper habits of drinking (p<0.0001), smoking (p=0.0204), exercise (p=0.0189) and body weight control (p<0.0001), were associated with increased γGTP. Even in a survey in which subjects who had proper habits of drinking and body weight control were selectively examined, improper habits of smoking and exercise still tended to be associated with increased γGTP. Receiver operating characteristic curves indicated that γGTP was beneficial for detecting subjects who scored two or less on Breslow's index, at least in subjects aged 40 or more. γGTP was associated with insulin resistance level estimated by the homeostasis model assessment (p<0.0001), which was inversely associated with Breslow's index (p=0.0040). γGTP could be used as an objective substitute of Breslow's index, allowing us to identify subjects with low scores on Breslow's index, at least after sorting subjects properly. Such screening would enable interventions to correct subjects' unhealthy lifestyles, helping to solve lifestyle-related disease issues.
Firefighting is a stressful and hazardous job. Persons engaged in firefighting are highly exposed to work-related stress as well as to smoke containing a host of chemicals potentially harmful to human health. In order to elucidate whether firefighting affects neuroendocrine and behavioral responses of firefighters, plasma catecholamine (CA) levels and the prevalence of neurobehavioral symptoms in 62 firefighters (all males, mean age 43 yr) and 52 control subjects matched for age and sex were examined in this study. Self-reported neurobehavioral symptoms data were obtained from a questionnaire survey and personal interview. Concentrations of epinephrine (E), norepinephrine (NE) and dopamine (DA) in plasma were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection. Compared with matched controls, the firefighters showed higher prevalence (p<0.05) of neurobehavioral symptoms such as burning sensation in the extremities, tingling and numbness, transient loss of memory, and depression, but no significant difference was recorded in the prevalences of anxiety, vertigo and dizziness. The firefighters demonstrated a more than two-fold (p<0.05) rise in plasma levels of E and NE, but the plasma DA level was relatively unchanged. Controlling age and smoking as possible confounders, firefighting was found to be associated with raised E (OR=2.15; 95% CI, 0.98-4.52), and NE levels (OR=2.24 95% CI, 1.22-3.61). In conclusion, the job of firefighting appears to be associated with stimulation of sympathetic activity and a rise in the prevalence of neurobehavioral symptoms.
This study was performed to evaluate the prevalence of respiratory symptoms in workers in a petrochemical complex and to elucidate the relationship between the prevalence and work-related factors. A questionnaire was distributed to 5,983 male workers working in a petrochemical complex. As for the respiratory symptoms, cough was present in 2.4%, phlegm in 8.1%, wheezing in 2.8% and shortness of breath in 4.7% of the workers. The factors significantly related to respiratory symptoms were smoking history, wearing of protective devices, handling of substances toxic to the respiratory system, and history of atopy or respiratory disease (p<0.05). The substances toxic to the respiratory system were divided into 4 types, ie., dusts, solvents, metals, and vapors. When the analysis was performed to evaluate the effects of exposure to substance type on respiratory symptoms, the odds ratio of cough was 1.96 times higher in those workers exposed to dusts compared with those not exposed, 2.28 times for exposure to metals, 1.52 times for solvents, and 1.55 times for vapors, all showing significant differences (p<0.05). For phlegm, the odds ratio was 1.08 times higher in those workers exposed to dusts compared with those not exposed, 1.94 times for exposure to metals, 1.70 times for organic solvents, and 1.85 for vapors (p<0.05). For wheezing, the odds ratio was 2.38 times for exposure to dusts; for shortness of breath, it was 2.42 times for exposure to dusts, 2.89 times for metals, 2.10 times for organic solvents, and 2.14 times for vapors, all showing significant differences (p<0.05). In conclusion, work-related factors significantly affected the respiratory symptoms in workers working in the petrochemical complex. Especially, these respiratory symptoms were significantly related to exposure to toxic substances and the wearing of protective devices. Thus, safety education and management are needed for these workers.