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Work-related stress and asthma: results from a workforce survey in New Zealand
  1. Amanda Eng1,
  2. Andrea ‘t Mannetje1,
  3. Neil Pearce2,
  4. Jeroen Douwes1
  1. 1Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand
  2. 2LSHTM, London, UK


Objectives We assessed the association between work-related stress and asthma in a cross-sectional workforce survey in New Zealand.

Methods Men and women randomly selected from the Electoral Roll were invited to take part in a telephone interview, which collected information on current workplace exposures and respiratory symptoms. Participants rated how stressful they found their current job on a 5-point scale. We conducted unconditional logistic regression to calculate prevalence ORs and 95% CI for job stress and both current and adult-onset asthma, adjusting for age, sex, smoking, and deprivation. Analyses were also stratified by sex, smoking status, and body mass index (BMI).

Results Results were based on 2903 interviews. Participants with very or extremely stressful jobs were twice as likely to have current asthma (OR=1.98; 95% CI 1.52 to 2.58) and 50% more likely to have adult-onset asthma (OR=1.50; 95% CI 1.05 to 2.15) compared to those with not at all or mildly stressful jobs. This association was evident for both sexes and was not explained by either occupation, BMI or smoking, although the results did differ by smoking status.

Conclusions Our study adds to the sparse evidence on the relationship between work-related stress and asthma in adult working populations.

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