[Psychosocial stress and disease risks in occupational life. Results of international studies on the demand-control and the effort-reward imbalance models].Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz 2008; 51(3):305-12BG
Given the far-reaching changes of modern working life, psychosocial stress at work has received increased attention. Its influence on stress-related disease risks is analysed with the help of standardised measurements based on theoretical models. Two such models have gained special prominence in recent years, the demand-control model and the effort-reward imbalance model. The former model places its emphasis on a distinct combination of job characteristics, whereas the latter model's focus is on the imbalance between efforts spent and rewards received in turn. The predictive power of these models with respect to coronary or cardiovascular disease and depression was tested in a number of prospective epidemiological investigations. In summary, twofold elevated disease risks are observed. Effects on cardiovascular disease are particularly pronounced among men, whereas no gender differences are observed for depression. Additional evidence derived from experimental and ambulatory monitoring studies supplements this body of findings. Current scientific evidence justifies an increased awareness and assessment of these newly discovered occupational risks, in particular by occupational health professionals. Moreover, structural and interpersonal measures of stress prevention and health promotion at work are warranted, with special emphasis on gender differences.