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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Georgia State: Stressful Work Does Not Appear to Affect Blood Glucose of Diabetics

Workplace stress does not appear to be a significant factor influencing levels of blood glucose among working adults with diabetes mellitus, according to a new study co-authored by researchers at Georgia State University’s School of Public Health.

The study, led by Dr. Ike S. Okosun, Dr. Douglas W. Roblin and PhD student Mr. Francis Annor, found that levels of glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) did not appear to be significantly related to the self-reported levels of workplace stress of the patients studied. However, the researchers noted that participants were enrollees of a large HMO known to have an effective diabetes management program, “and results may not be generalizable to uninsured patients, those in other health insurance system or patients in other geographic locations.”

The study, “Work-related psychosocial stress and glycemic control among working adults with diabetes mellitus” was published recently by PubMed.

Psychosocial stress is frequently associated with poor cardiometabolic health.

Laboratory research and some studies in real-life setting have found “that stressful situations such as unpleasant interviews or impending examinations destabilized blood glucose levels,” the authors note. But little work has focused on the possible effects of a stressful work environment and they recommended additional research on the topic.

The study included 537 subjects ranging from 27 to 59 years old who were diagnosed with diabetes mellitus. About 23 percent were on insulin with the remaining patients managing their diabetes with other regimens including oral hypoglycemic medications.

Workplace stress was assessed on four measures: work decision authority, job demands, coworker support, and supervisor support.

The authors wrote, “We did not find a significant association between any of the baseline measures of work-related psychosocial stress subscales or the overall score and glycemic control at baseline or over time among study participants. However, in an uncontrolled model, we found an interaction between job demand and supervisor support subscales to be a significantly associated with HbA1c. […] This finding warrants further research.”

Annor is an epidemiologist at the Georgia Department of Public Health. The other co-author of the study is Dr. Michael Goodman of the department of epidemiology at Emory University.

The research was supported by an NIDDK grant (1R21DK081887) and a CDC grant (1R01CD000033).

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