Sexes differ in their immune reactions to burnout on the job and depression

levels of fibrinogen compared with their non-burned out counterparts (after controlling for their levels of depression and anxiety). Whereas the men in the study who scored higher on depression scores (controlling for their levels of burnout and anxiety) had a 3.15 fold risk of having an elevated level of CRP (>3), and elevated levels of fibrinogen compared to the non-depressed men.

These results suggest that the burned-out women and depressed men are at a greater risk for future inflammation-related diseases, like diabetes, heart disease and strokes compared with their non-burned out and non-depressed counterparts. All these linkages were obtained after taking into account a host of physiological factors well known to be associated with CRP and fibrinogen levels.

Even though burnout and depression affect men and women differently, the health consequences end up being the same, said Dr. Toker, who suggests that gender difference be included when comparing certain emotions and health risks. "The findings also confirm that emotional states do indeed affect a person's risk for developing cardiovascular disease," said Toker. "This information can be used to help medical and mental health professionals design more appropriate stress management interventions for each sex and hopefully prevent long-lasting health consequences."


Contact: Pam Willenz
American Psychological Association

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