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Approved Research

Social stressors, shift work and health - the moderating role of genetic factors

Principal Investigator: Professor Johannes Gjerstad
Approved Research ID: 68831
Approval date: January 25th 2021

Lay summary

Earlier observations show that psychosocial factors and work schedule may interact with biological factors and affect health and well-being. Thus, we think that both the relationship with colleagues, climate for conflict management, workload and the work schedule may be crucial for a better understanding of stress-induced subjective health complaints such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, dementia or persistent pain conditions. The overall purpose of the proposed project is to provide new knowledge about how exposure to job stressors may lead to subjective health complaints.

First, in a Norwegian cohort, associations between the job stressors and health-outcomes moderated by genetic factors are enlightened. Utilizing data from the National Institute of Occupational Health Norway drawn from the general population, we examine associations between exposure to job stressors and subjective health complaints. The role of the genetic factors, gender and social support, (as well as education, smoking, separation/divorce and alcohol) will be addressed.

Next, the role of the most significant genetic factors, similar to those first suggested to be essential for subjective health complaints in the Norwegian data set, will be examined in the data set of UK biobank. Thus, in the UK cohort, we will follow-up the most important results to see if it is possible to replicate these discoveries in another population. Hence, replication of the most innovative findings in the UK biobank data set will be a crucial part of the project.

Inclusion of both survey data and genetic information in the analyses emphasizes the innovative and multidisciplinary profile of the project. We think combining knowledge across psychology and genetics will be important for future prevention and treatment of long lasting stress-induced anxiety, depression, insomnia, dementia and persistent pain conditions in general population.