Psychosocial Job Stress and Immunity: A Systematic Review

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Abstract

The purpose of this review was to provide current knowledge about the possible association between psychosocial job stress and immune parameters in blood, saliva, and urine. Using bibliographic databases (PubMed, PsychINFO, Web of Science, Medline) and the snowball method, 56 studies were found. In general, exposure to psychosocial job stress (high job demands, low job control, high job strain, job dissatisfaction, high effort–reward imbalance, overcommitment, burnout, unemployment, organizational downsizing, economic recession) had a measurable impact on immune parameters (reduced NK cell activity, NK and T cell subsets, CD4+/CD8+ ratio, and increased inflammatory markers). The evidence supports that psychosocial job stresses are related to disrupted immune responses but further research is needed to demonstrate cause–effect relationships.