We investigated whether chronic job stress, i.e., effort-reward imbalance (ERI) and overcommitment is associated with cellular immunity among 190 male and 157 female white-collar daytime employees (mean age 38; range 22-69 years). Participants provided a blood sample for the measurement of circulating immune (natural killer (NK), B, and T) cell counts and NK cell cytotoxicity (NKCC) and completed a questionnaire survey during April to June 2002. Stepwise multiple linear regression analyses revealed that NK cells were associated with effort (β= -230; p= .013), reward (β= .169; p= .047), and ERI (β= -182; p= .047) scores but not with overcommitment in men; reward score was positively associated with NKCC (β= .167; p= .049) and inversely associated with B cells (β= -181; p= .030). No significant associations were found in women. Although the picture remains less clear in women, our findings suggest a potential immunological pathway linking adverse working conditions and stress-related disorders in men.
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