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Positive social support at work shown to reduce risk of diabetes
Date:5/9/2013

Cases of type 2 diabetes continue to rise in the US. And while the development of the disease is more commonly associated with risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure, and physical inactivity, research has shown that stress can also have a significant impact.

Now Dr. Sharon Toker of Tel Aviv University's Faculty of Management has found that low levels of social support and high levels of stress in the workplace can accurately predict the development of diabetes over the long term even in employees who appear to be healthy otherwise. Published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, the study contributes to an ongoing body of research linking work conditions to physical and mental health.

The researchers' 3.5-year-long study of male and female employees established that work conditions had a preventative or predictive effect on the development of type 2 diabetes. Participants who reported having a high level of social support at work had a 22 percent lesser chance of developing diabetes over the course of the study. And those who described themselves as either over- or under-worked were 18 percent more likely to develop the disease. The results were controlled for various risk factors including age, family history, activity level, and body mass index.

Dr. Toker says these findings paint a grim picture, with a worrying rise in the rate of diabetes in the researchers' middle-aged study cohort, which had a mean age of 48. "You don't want to see working populations have an increasing rate of diabetes. It's costly to both employees and employers, resulting in absenteeism and triggering expensive medical insurance," she explains.

Assessing work conditions

For the study, conducted in collaboration with Prof. Arie Shirom of TAU, Dr. Galit Armon of the University of Haifa, and Dr. Samuel Melamed of the Tel Aviv Yaffo Academic College, researchers recruited 5,843 individuals who visited a h
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Contact: George Hunka
ghunka@aftau.org
212-742-9070
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Source:Eurekalert

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