Institute of Stress Medicine

Göteborg, Sweden

Institute of Stress Medicine

Göteborg, Sweden
SEARCH FILTERS
Time filter
Source Type

News Article | November 1, 2016
Site: www.sciencedaily.com

It is a well-known fact that fitness and well-being go hand in hand. But being in good shape also protects against the health problems that arise when we feel particularly stressed at work. As reported by sports scientists from the University of Basel and colleagues from Sweden, it therefore pays to stay physically active, especially during periods of high stress. Psychosocial stress is one of the key factors leading to illness-related absences from work. This type of stress is accompanied by impaired mental well-being and an increase in depressive symptoms. It also raises the likelihood of cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure and an unfavorable blood lipid profile. Conversely, a high fitness level is associated with fewer depressive symptoms and fewer cardiovascular risk factors. The data from the study published in the US journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise shows that a high fitness level offers particularly effective protection for professionals who experience a high degree of stress in the workplace. To obtain this data, the researchers recorded the fitness levels of almost 200 Swedish employees -- 51% men, mean age 39 years -- using a so-called bicycle ergometer test. In addition, they measured various known cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure, body mass index, cholesterol, triglycerides and glycated hemoglobin. The participants were then asked to provide information on their current perception of stress. As expected, the study conducted by the Department of Sport, Exercise and Health at the University of Basel, the Institute of Stress Medicine, and Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg illustrates that stressed individuals exhibit higher values of most cardiovascular risk factors. Furthermore, it was confirmed that cardiovascular fitness is linked to virtually all risk factors, with the risk factors being less high in people who are physically fit. The researchers demonstrated for the first time that the relationship between the subjective perception of stress and cardiovascular risk factors is moderated, so to speak, by fitness. In other words, among the stressed employees, there were particularly large differences between individuals with a high, medium, and low fitness level. For example, when stress levels were high, the LDL cholesterol values exceeded the clinically relevant limit in employees with a low fitness level -- but not in those with a high fitness level. By contrast, where the exposure to stress was low, far smaller differences were observed between fitness levels. "Above all, these findings are significant because it is precisely when people are stressed that they tend to engage in physical activity less often," says Professor Markus Gerber of the University of Basel. Furthermore, he says that the study has direct implications for the therapy and treatment of stress-related disorders. To promote a physically active lifestyle, a high priority should be attached to the systematic measurement of cardiorespiratory fitness and the provision of theoretically sound and evidence-based physical activity counseling.


News Article | November 1, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

It is a well-known fact that fitness and well-being go hand in hand. But being in good shape also protects against the health problems that arise when we feel particularly stressed at work. As reported by sports scientists from the University of Basel in Switzerland and colleagues from Sweden, it therefore pays to stay physically active, especially during periods of high stress. Psychosocial stress is one of the key factors leading to illness-related absences from work. This type of stress is accompanied by impaired mental well-being and an increase in depressive symptoms. It also raises the likelihood of cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure and an unfavorable blood lipid profile. Conversely, a high fitness level is associated with fewer depressive symptoms and fewer cardiovascular risk factors. The data from the study published in the US journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise shows that a high fitness level offers particularly effective protection for professionals who experience a high degree of stress in the workplace. To obtain this data, the researchers recorded the fitness levels of almost 200 Swedish employees - 51% men, mean age 39 years - using a so-called bicycle ergometer test. In addition, they measured various known cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure, body mass index, cholesterol, triglycerides and glycated hemoglobin. The participants were then asked to provide information on their current perception of stress. As expected, the study conducted by the Department of Sport, Exercise and Health at the University of Basel, the Institute of Stress Medicine, and Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg illustrates that stressed individuals exhibit higher values of most cardiovascular risk factors. Furthermore, it was confirmed that cardiovascular fitness is linked to virtually all risk factors, with the risk factors being less high in people who are physically fit. The researchers demonstrated for the first time that the relationship between the subjective perception of stress and cardiovascular risk factors is moderated, so to speak, by fitness. In other words, among the stressed employees, there were particularly large differences between individuals with a high, medium, and low fitness level. For example, when stress levels were high, the LDL cholesterol values exceeded the clinically relevant limit in employees with a low fitness level - but not in those with a high fitness level. By contrast, where the exposure to stress was low, far smaller differences were observed between fitness levels. "Above all, these findings are significant because it is precisely when people are stressed that they tend to engage in physical activity less often," says Professor Markus Gerber of the University of Basel. Furthermore, he says that the study has direct implications for the therapy and treatment of stress-related disorders. To promote a physically active lifestyle, a high priority should be attached to the systematic measurement of cardiorespiratory fitness and the provision of theoretically sound and evidence-based physical activity counseling. Markus Gerber, Mats Börjesson, Thomas Ljung, Magnus Lindwall, and Ingibjörg H. Jonsdottir Fitness moderates the relationship between stress and cardiovascular risk factors Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (2016), doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001005


Lindwall M.,Gothenburg University | Ljung T.,Mid Sweden University | Ljung T.,RandD unit | Hadzibajramovic E.,Institute of Stress Medicine | And 2 more authors.
Mental Health and Physical Activity | Year: 2012

Background: A relevant, but overlooked question is if self-reported physical activity and aerobic fitness are differently related to mental health. Purpose: To examine the relation between mental health and level of self-reported physical activity (SRPA) and aerobic fitness (AF), and whether AF mediates the relation between SRPA and mental health. Methods: Participating in the study were 177 voluntary subjects (49% men, 51% women) with a mean age of 39 years. Symptoms of depression and anxiety were measured through the Hospital Anxiety and Depression (HAD) scale, and the Shirom-Melamed Burnout Questionnaire (SMBQ) was used to evaluate self-reported symptoms of burnout. Leisure time SRPA during the last three months were measured using a single item. AF was measured by using the Åstrand bicycle test. Results: Self-reported physical activity, but not AF, was significantly related to self-reported symptoms of depression, anxiety, and burnout. Light to moderate physical activity that is performed regularly seems to be associated with more favorable mental health pattern compared with physical inactivity. No support was found for the mediating effect of AF of the physical activity-mental health relationship. Conclusions: Self-reported behavior of regular physical activity seems to be more important to monitor than measures of AF when considering the potential preventive effects of physical activity on mental health. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Lennartsson A.-K.,Institute of Stress Medicine | Billig H.,Gothenburg University | Jonsdottir I.H.,Institute of Stress Medicine | Jonsdottir I.H.,Gothenburg University
Journal of Psychosomatic Research | Year: 2014

Objective: Prolactin levels have been shown to be increased by different types of psychosocial stress. Since burnout is a consequence of long-term psychosocial stress, prolactin levels might also be affected in burnout. The aim of this study was to investigate whether there are differences in prolactin levels between individuals who report burnout and others. Method: Morning fasting serum prolactin levels were compared between individuals who reported burnout (24 men and 25 women) and individuals who reported no burnout (25 men and 13 women). Women were tested in the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle. Men and women were analysed separately. Results: Men who reported burnout exhibited significantly higher (34%) serum prolactin levels compared to men who reported no burnout. The prolactin levels in women who reported burnout were not different from the levels in the women who reported no burnout before or after adjusting for estradiol levels. Conclusions: This study indicates that prolactin levels are higher in men with burnout than men without burnout but not affected in women with burnout. Why no association was seen in women needs to be further explored. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.


Glise K.,Institute of Stress Medicine | Glise K.,Gothenburg University | Ahlborg Jr G.,Institute of Stress Medicine | Ahlborg Jr G.,Gothenburg University | Jonsdottir I.H.,Institute of Stress Medicine
BMC Psychiatry | Year: 2012

Background: Long-term sick leave due to mental health problems, especially among women, is a substantial problem in many countries, and a major reason for this is thought to be psychosocial stress. The recovery period of different patient groups with stress-related mental health problems can differ considerably. We have studied the course of mental health symptoms during 18 months of multimodal treatment in relation to sex and age in a group of patients with stress-related exhaustion.Methods: The study group includes 232 patients (68% women) referred to a stress clinic and who fulfilled the criteria for Exhaustion Disorder (ED). The majority also fulfilled diagnostic criteria for depression and/or anxiety; this was similar among women and men. Symptoms were assessed at baseline, three, six, 12 and 18 months by the Shirom-Melamed Burnout Questionnaire (SMBQ) and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale (HAD). A total SMBQ mean score of ≥ 4 was used to indicate clinical burnout, which correlates well with the clinical diagnosis of ED.Results: There were no statistically significant differences between women and men or between young and old patients in the self-reported symptoms at baseline. The proportion that had high burnout scores decreased over time, but one-third still had symptoms of clinical burnout after 18 months. Symptoms indicating probable depression or anxiety (present in 34% and 65% of the patients at baseline, respectively) declined more rapidly, in most cases within the first three months, and were present only in one out of 10 after 18 months. The course of illness was not related to sex or age. The duration of symptoms before seeking health care, but not the level of education or co-morbid depression, was a predictor of recovery from symptoms of burnout after 18 months.Conclusions: The course of mental illness in patients seeking specialist care for stress-related exhaustion was not related to sex or age. The burden of mental symptoms is high and similar for men and women, and at the 18 month follow-up, one-third of the study group still showed symptoms of burnout. A long duration of symptoms before consultation was associated with a prolonged time of recovery, which underlines the importance of early detection of stress-related symptoms. © 2012 Glise et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Glise K.,Institute of Stress Medicine | Glise K.,Gothenburg University | Hadzibajramovic E.,Institute of Stress Medicine | Jonsdottir I.H.,Institute of Stress Medicine | Ahlborg Jr. G.,Gothenburg University
International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health | Year: 2010

Objective The aim of this study was to assess the construct and predictive validity of a new instrument for selfrating of stress-related Exhaustion Disorder (s-ED). Methods Public healthcare workers and social insurance officers, 85% females, were included (N = 2,683) in a longitudinal study. The s-ED instrument, based on clinical criteria for Exhaustion Disorder, was used at baseline to classify participants into three categories: non-s-ED, light/moderate s-ED and pronounced s-ED. Other assessments include burnout, anxiety, depression and work ability. Sick leave at follow-up after 2 years was defined as 14 days of ongoing sick leave (SA14) or a period of 60 days of sick leave during the last 12 months (SA60). Associations at baseline were expressed as prevalence ratios, and adjusted relative risks (RR) were calculated using Cox regression. Results At baseline, 16% reported s-ED. Scores of depression, anxiety and burnout and the rate of poor work ability increased with increasing severity of s-ED. Selfreported exhaustion at baseline increased the risk of reporting sickness absence at follow-up; pronounced s-ED RR 2.7; CI 1.8-4.0 for SA14 and RR 3.4; CI 2.3-5.2 for SA60. Conclusions Self-rated ED corresponded well to established scales for mental health, indicating sufficient construct validity. Individuals reporting s-ED at baseline were more likely to report sickness absence at follow-up, confirming its predictive properties. The s-ED instrument may be a useful tool for occupational health services in identifying human service workers at risk of having or developing a potentially disabling stress-related mental illness. © Springer-Verlag 2009.


Selden A.I.,Örebro University | Ahlborg Jr. G.,Institute of Stress Medicine | Ahlborg Jr. G.,Gothenburg University
International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health | Year: 2011

Purpose: Despite decades of experimental and observational studies, the carcinogenic risks to humans associated with occupational exposure to perchloroethylene (PER) remain uncertain. The aims of the present study were to further examine the possible associations. Methods: A national cohort of dry-cleaning and laundry workers (n = 10,389) assembled in 1984 was followed up for new cases of cancer by matching with the Swedish cancer register from 1985 to 2006 (inclusive), and the results were compared with expected frequencies derived from national reference data. Results: Follow-up was complete for 90.9% of the cohort (2,810 men, 6,630 women). The overall standardised cancer incidence ratio (SIR) for all subjects was close to unity (SIR 0.96; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.91-1.02) with a slightly more favourable outcome in women (SIR 0.91; 95% CI 0.85-0.98) than in men (SIR 1.10; 95% CI 0.99-1.23). Significantly elevated rates of lung cancer (SIR 1.45; 95% CI 1.03-1.98) and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (SIR 2.05; 95% CI 1.30-3.07) were seen in men, but for both types of cancer, the point estimates were similar in genuine laundry workers and dry-cleaners exposed to PER, respectively. There was no significant excess of cancer of the oesophagus, larynx, uterine cervix, liver, kidney or urinary bladder. Conclusions: The absence of individual or collective data on PER exposure from participating dry-cleaning shops and laundries involved and limited information on exposure time hampered the risk assessment related to PER. However, no clear association between PER exposure and subsequent cancer morbidity in the workers was evident from this historically prospective cohort. © 2010 The Author(s).


Lindegard A.,Institute of Stress Medicine | Larsman P.,Institute of Stress Medicine | Hadzibajramovic E.,Institute of Stress Medicine | Ahlborg Jr. G.,Institute of Stress Medicine | Ahlborg Jr. G.,Gothenburg University
International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health | Year: 2014

Objectives: To evaluate the influence of perceived stress and musculoskeletal ache/pain, separately and in combination, at baseline, on self-rated work ability and work performance at two-year follow-up. Methods: Survey data were collected with a 2-year interval. Health care workers participating at both waves were included. Inclusion criteria were good self-reported work ability and unchanged self-rated work performance at baseline, resulting in 770 participants; 617 women and 153 men. Musculoskeletal pain was assessed using the question "How often do you experience pain in joints and muscles, including the neck and low back?", perceived stress with a modified version of a single item from the QPS-Nordic questionnaire, work performance by the question "Have your work performance changed during the preceding 12 months?" and work ability by a single item from the work ability index. Associations between baseline data and the two outcomes at follow-up were analysed by means of the log binomial model and expressed as risk ratios (RR) with 95 % confidence intervals (CI). Results: A combination of frequent musculoskeletal pain and perceived stress constituted the highest risk for reporting decreased work performance (RR 1.7; CI 1.28-2.32) and reduced work ability (RR 1.7; CI 1.27-2.30) at follow-up. Separately, frequent pain, but not stress, was clearly associated with both outcomes. Conclusion: The results imply that proactive workplace interventions in order to maintain high work performance and good work ability should include measures to promote musculoskeletal well-being for the employees and measures, both individual and organizational, to minimize the risk of persistent stress reactions. © 2013 The Author(s).


Gerber M.,University of Basel | Lindwall M.,Gothenburg University | Lindegard A.,Institute of Stress Medicine | Borjesson M.,The Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences | And 3 more authors.
Patient Education and Counseling | Year: 2013

Objective: To examine how cardiorespiratory fitness and self-perceived stress are associated with burnout and depression. To determine if any relationship between stress and burnout/depression is mitigated among participants with high fitness levels. Methods: 197 participants (51% men, mean age = 39.2 years) took part in the study. The Åstrand bicycle test was used to assess cardorespiratory fitness. Burnout was measured with the Shirom-Melamed Burnout Questionnaire (SMBQ), depressive symptoms with the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HAD-D). A gender-matched stratified sample was used to ensure that participants with varying stress levels were equally represented. Results: Participants with moderate and high fitness reported fewer symptoms of burnout and depression than participants with low fitness. Individuals with high stress who also had moderate or high fitness levels reported lower scores on the SMBQ Tension subscale and the HAD-D than individuals with high stress, but low fitness levels. Conclusion: Better cardiovascular fitness seems to be associated with decreased symptoms of burnout and a better capacity to cope with stress. Practical implications: Promoting and measuring cardiorespiratory fitness can motivate employees to adopt a more physically active lifestyle and thus strengthen their ability to cope with stress exposure and stress-related disorders. © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.


Jonsdottir I.H.,Institute of Stress Medicine | Jonsdottir I.H.,Gothenburg University | Borjesson M.,Gothenburg University | Ahlborg Jr. G.,Institute of Stress Medicine | Ahlborg Jr. G.,Gothenburg University
BMC Public Health | Year: 2011

Background: Healthcare professionals play a central role in health promotion and lifestyle information towards patients as well as towards the general population, and it has been shown that own lifestyle habits can influence attitudes and counselling practice towards patients. The purpose of this study was to explore the participation of healthcare workers (HCWs) in a worksite health promotion (WHP) programme. We also aimed to find out whether HCWs with poorer lifestyle-related health engage in health-promotion activities to a larger extent than employees reporting healthier lifestyles. Method. A biennial questionnaire survey was used in this study, and it was originally posted to employees in the public healthcare sector in western Sweden, one year before the onset of the WHP programme. The response rate was 61% (n = 3207). In the four-year follow-up, a question regarding participation in a three-year-long WHP programme was included, and those responding to this question were included in the final analysis (n = 1859). The WHP programme used a broad all-inclusive approach, relying on the individual's decision to participate in activities related to four different themes: physical activity, nutrition, sleep, and happiness/enjoyment. Results: The participation rate was around 21%, the most popular theme being physical activity. Indicators of lifestyle-related health/behaviour for each theme were used, and regression analysis showed that individuals who were sedentary prior to the programme were less likely to participate in the programme's physical activities than the more active individuals. Participation in the other three themes was not significantly predicted by the indicators of the lifestyle-related health, (body mass index, sleep disturbances, or depressive mood). Conclusion: Our results indicate that HCWs are not more prone to participate in WHP programmes compared to what has been reported for other working populations, and despite a supposedly good knowledge of health-related issues, HCWs reporting relatively unfavourable lifestyles are not more motivated to participate. As HCWs are key actors in promoting healthy lifestyles to other groups (such as patients), it is of utmost importance to find strategies to engage this professional group in activities that promote their own health. © 2011 Jonsdottir et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Loading Institute of Stress Medicine collaborators
Loading Institute of Stress Medicine collaborators