Associations between repetitive work and endocrinological indicators of stress

Tidsskriftartikel - 2003


In the present study the impact of repetitive work on endocrinological indicators of stress were studied in a sample of 96 female sewing machine operators mainly carrying out repetitive work and 46 members of a control group, also women, mainly carrying out process monitoring. Individuals performing highly repetitive and high-speed precision tasks were hypothesized to have more catabolic (measured as total plasma cholesterol, glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c), immunoglobulin-A (IgA) and prolactin, urinary catecholamines and cortisol) and less anabolic metabolism (DHEA-S and free testosterone) compared to individuals in occupations with more varied work. Repetitive work was assessed on the basis of job category, classifications based on observations of work task, and self-reported psychosocial work environment. The sewing machine operators were found to exhibit more catabolic (measured as plasma HbA1c) and less anabolic metabolism (measured as free testosterone) compared to members of the control group. No differences were observed between job categories in other measured endocrinological indicators. Participants classified as having repetitive work had higher concentrations of IgA and lower concentrations of free testosterone and urinary adrenaline compared to participants having non-repetitive work. In conclusion the results indicate that adverse psychosocial work environment was associated with increased catabolic metabolism. An association between self-reported adverse psychosocial work environment and low anabolic metabolism could not be demonstrated.


Hansen ÅM, Kaergaard A, Andersen J, Netterstrøm B. Associations between repetitive work and endocrinological indicators of stress. Work & Stress 2003;17(3):264-276.
doi: 10.1080/02678370310001628899

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