Background Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is characterised by a combination of different metabolic factors associated with cardiovascular events and with a higher risk of all-cause mortality. The pathogenesis of MetS is complex and multifactorial. However, there is evidence that psychological factors, such as stress and shift work, may be involved in the aetiology of MetS.
Objective To investigate the relationship between MetS and perceived stress levels among women shift workers in Southern Brazil.
Methods A matched case-control study was conducted including 50 cases of MetS that met the criteria of the 2009 Joint Interim Statement and 200 age-matched controls (±3 yrs, 4 for each case). Perceived stress levels were measured by the Perceived Stress Scale with 10 items (PSS-10). Multivariate-adjusted associations between MetS and perceived stress levels were assessed by conditional logistic regression.
Results The PSS-10 demonstrated adequate psychometric properties. The value of Cronbach’s α coefficient was 0.76 with an average inter-item correlation of 0.24. PSS-10 scores ranged from 0 to 34 points and means ± standard deviations of PSS-10 levels were not significantly different between cases and controls (14.2 ± 5.9 vs. 15.5 ± 5.6; P = 0.15). In addition, no association was observed in the multivariate model between MetS and perceived stress level after these exposures were stratified into tertiles. The odds ratios were 0.73 (95% CI: 0.36–1.52) and 0.74 (95% CI: 0.34–1.61) for mid and top PSS-10 tertiles, respectively.
Conclusions Overall, there was no difference between women with or without MetS in regard to the perceived stress levels. Our results do not support an association between stress and MetS among this sample of Brazilian women shift workers. Future epidemiological studies of shift workers are necessary to confirm our findings, taking into account job characteristics in order to improve our understanding of the complexities of this relationship.