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Work Stress May Predispose People to Arthritis

Although a relationship between a stressful work environment and cardiovascular disease has been hypothesized, a new study suggests work stress could also be linked to inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

A Swedish study defines psychosocial work stress as high psychological demands, low decision latitude or the combination of these stressors (job strain). The investigators used data from EIRA, a large population-based case-control study with incident cases of RA.

The study base comprised the population, aged 18 – 65 years, in middle and southern parts of Sweden from 1996 to 2003. In total, 1,221 cases and 1,454 controls participated.

Psychological job demands and job decision latitude were measured according to validated questions from earlier research.

Researchers discovered low decision latitude, that is, low authority to make decisions or low job skills was associated with an increased risk for RA. Interestingly, this same pattern has also been associated with the development of cardiovascular disease.

Furthermore, there was some evidence that those with high psychological job demands had a decreased risk of RA.

Source: Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics

Work Stress May Predispose People to Arthritis

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Work Stress May Predispose People to Arthritis. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 19, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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