Work stress and metabolic syndrome in radiologists: First evidence

Nicola Magnavita, Adriano Fileni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Scientific data have amply demonstrated that work stress increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, less attention has been given to the association between stress and metabolic syndrome. In this study, our aim was to investigate the relationship between work stress and metabolic syndrome in a population of radiologists. Materials and methods: Radiologists and radiotherapists taking part in scientific conferences were invited to compile a questionnaire to evaluate work stress and the main parameters for diagnosing metabolic syndrome (obesity, hypertension, elevated cholesterol level, elevated triglycerides, and hyperglycemia). Results: Most of the doctors taking part in the survey (n = 383, 58.6 %) were found to have at least one pathological component; 47 subjects (7.1 %) had metabolic syndrome. All the variables indicating work stress, whether derived from Karasek's demand/control model or from the effort/reward model devised by Siegrist, were significant predictors of metabolic syndrome components. Radiologists with elevated levels of stress had a significantly higher risk of being affected by metabolic syndrome than colleagues with lower stress levels, whether stress was defined as "job strain", i.e., elevated work load and reduced discretionary power (OR 4.89, 95 % CI 2.51-9.55), or as "effort reward imbalance", i.e., mismatch between effort and reward for the work performed (OR 4.66, 95 % CI 2.17-10.02). Conclusions: Should the results of this cross-sectional study be confirmed by a subsequent longitudinal survey, they would indicate the need for prompt organizational intervention to reduce occupational stress in radiologists.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-148
Number of pages7
JournalRadiologia Medica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Effort-reward imbalance
  • Elevated triglycerides
  • Glucose intolerance
  • Hypertension
  • Job strain
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Obesity
  • Overcommitment
  • Radiologist
  • Reduced HDL cholesterol
  • Social support
  • Work-related stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Medicine(all)


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