The stress of having no job control can double diabetes risk in working women

23 Aug

Workplace stress doubles the risk of diabetes among women who have little or no control over their jobs – but this is not the case for men.

Women with micromanaging bosses and little job control double their risk of diabetes. (pic: istockphoto.com/yusufsarlar)

A nine-year study of 7,443 working women by the Institute for Work and Health and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Studies in Toronto, Canada, found that micromanaging female employees can have serious consequences for their health.

The researchers found that 19% of diabetes cases in women are due to ‘low job control’ – higher than the cases caused by smoking, drinking and lack of exercise (but lower than for obesity).

The tendency for women who felt they had so say over their work, or were managed too tightly, is often to turn to comfort food that has higher sugar and fat content, said Peter Smith, lead author of the study. This can affect their hormonal make-up, he explains: “The mind and body are very connected, and the body releases stress hormones like epinephrine and cortisol. These can help ward off threats, but when released constantly, they take a toll on the body and they affect how the body handles sugars and fat, and can lead toward the development of obesity and Type 2 diabetes.”

He said he was surprised to discover that “low social support at work is good for women”. In other words, if the micromanagers relax a bit and give their staff more control over how they manage their daily tasks, it could be hugely beneficial for their stress levels.

He added: “Workers who have more autonomy and control over their jobs have more job satisfaction, less stress and more productivity.”

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