Even mild stress is linked to long-term disability

Mar 23, 2011

Even relatively mild stress can lead to long term disability and an inability to work, reveals a large population based study published online in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

It is well known that are associated with long term disability, but the impact of milder forms of is likely to have been underestimated, say the authors.

Between 2002 and 2007, the authors tracked the health of more than 17,000 working adults up to the age of 64, who had been randomly selected from the population in the Stockholm area.

All participants completed a validated questionnaire (GHQ-12) at the start of the study to measure their mental health and stress levels, as well as other aspects of health and wellbeing.

During the monitoring period, 649 people started receiving disability benefit - 203 for a mental health problem and the remainder for physical ill health.

Higher levels of stress at the start of the study were associated with a significantly greater likelihood of subsequently being awarded long term disability benefits.

But even those with mild stress were up to 70% more likely to receive disability benefits, after taking account of other factors likely to influence the results, such as lifestyle and .

One in four of these benefits awarded for a , such as , angina, and stroke, and almost two thirds awarded for a mental illness, were attributable to stress.

The authors say that it is important to consider their findings in the context of modern working life, which places greater demands on employees, and social factors, such as fewer close personal relationships and supportive networks.

These factors lead them to ask: "Are the strains and demands of modern society commonly exceeding human ability?" And they conclude that while mild stress should not be over-medicalised, their findings suggest that it should be taken more seriously than it is.

Explore further: Is UK shale gas extraction posing a risk to public health?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

21,000 Victorians suffer from work-related depression

Jun 01, 2008

Almost one in six cases of depression among working Victorians are caused by job stress. This means more than 21,000 cases of preventable depression are caused by job stress each year, a new University of Melbourne study ...

Recommended for you

Obama: 8 million signed up for health care (Update)

11 hours ago

President Barack Obama said Thursday 8 million Americans have signed up for health care through new insurance exchanges, besting expectations and offering new hope to Democrats who are defending the law ahead ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Leeches help save woman's ear after pit bull mauling

(HealthDay)—A pit bull attack in July 2013 left a 19-year-old woman with her left ear ripped from her head, leaving an open wound. After preserving the ear, the surgical team started with a reconnection ...

Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs

Research done by U.S. scientists in the Cayman Islands suggests that native predators can be trained to gobble up invasive lionfish that colonize regional reefs and voraciously prey on juvenile marine creatures.

Venture investments jump to $9.5B in 1Q

Funding for U.S. startup companies soared 57 percent in the first quarter to a level not seen since 2001, as venture capitalists piled more money into an increasing number of deals, according to a report due out Friday.

White House updating online privacy policy

A new Obama administration privacy policy out Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to WhiteHouse.gov, mobile apps and social media sites. It also clarifies that ...