Work-related stress and incident asthma and rhinitis: results from the SOLAR study

  • Felix ForsterEmail author
  • Tobias Weinmann
  • Jessica Gerlich
  • Wolff Schlotz
  • Gudrun Weinmayr
  • Jon Genuneit
  • Doris Windstetter
  • Christian Vogelberg
  • Erika von Mutius
  • Dennis Nowak
  • Katja Radon
Original Article



This study analyzes the association of work-related stress with incident asthma and rhinitis in young adults with a special focus on gender-specific differences.


Incident asthma, wheezing and rhinitis were measured in a cohort of 2051 young German adults (aged 16–18 years at baseline) recruited by the prospective population-based SOLAR study (Study of Occupational Allergy Risks). Work-related stress was measured by the Trier Inventory for the Assessment of Chronic Stress (TICS). Two TICS scales, work overload and work discontent, were analysed. Logistic regression was conducted to calculate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI).


In females, the odds for incident asthma were found to be 17% higher for each increase of the work discontent score by one point (OR 1.17, 95% CI 1.04–1.31). In males, no association was statistically significant. Incident rhinitis showed no association with any exposure variable.


This study shows a link between work-related stress and incident asthma which seems to be confined to women. This study adds evidence about the association of work-related stress and asthma in young adults and can contribute to prevention for that particular age group.


Incident asthma Incident rhinitis Work-related stress Young adults 



The authors thank all participants and the study team for their contribution. Ronald Herrera (Institute and Clinic for Occupational, Social and Environmental Medicine, University Hospital, LMU Munich) and Carla Sabariego (Department of Medical Informatics, Biometry and Epidemiology, LMU Munich) are gratefully acknowledged for their comments on the manuscript.


The ISAAC Phase Two study in Dresden and Munich was funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research (01 EE 9411-3). The SOLAR I study was supported by the German Ministry for Economy and Labour. The SOLAR II study was funded by the German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the German Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

CV, DN, DW, FF, GW, JGen, JGer, KR, and TW: none. EvM: grants from German Ministry of Education and Research, during the conduct of the study; personal fees from Massachusetts Medical Society, personal fees from American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, personal fees from Novartis Pharma SAS, personal fees from PharmaVentures, personal fees from OM Pharma, personal fees from Decision Resources, personal fees from The Chinese University of Hong Kong, personal fees from University of Copenhagen, personal fees from HAL Allergie GmbH, personal fees from Ökosoziales Forum Oberösterreich, personal fees from Mundipharma, personal fees from American Thoracic Society, personal fees from AbbVie Deutschland GmbH & Co. KG, personal fees from University of Tampere, personal fees from European Commission, personal fees from University of Turku, personal fees from University Helsinki, personal fees from Peptinnovate, outside the submitted work. WS: personal fees from Hogrefe Publishers, outside the submitted work.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The study was approved by the Ethical Committee of the Medical Faculty of the University of Dresden (Dresden, Germany), the Ethical Committee of the Bavarian Chamber of Physicians (Munich, Germany) and by the Ethical Committee of Ulm University (Ulm, Germany).

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all study participants, or their guardians if the participants were younger than 18 years.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Felix Forster
    • 1
    • 2
    • 7
    Email author
  • Tobias Weinmann
    • 1
    • 7
    • 8
  • Jessica Gerlich
    • 1
    • 7
    • 8
  • Wolff Schlotz
    • 3
  • Gudrun Weinmayr
    • 4
  • Jon Genuneit
    • 4
  • Doris Windstetter
    • 1
    • 7
  • Christian Vogelberg
    • 5
  • Erika von Mutius
    • 6
    • 7
  • Dennis Nowak
    • 1
    • 7
  • Katja Radon
    • 1
    • 7
    • 8
  1. 1.Institute and Clinic for Occupational, Social and Environmental Medicine, University HospitalLMU MunichMunichGermany
  2. 2.Institute for Medical Informatics, Biometry, and EpidemiologyLMU MunichMunichGermany
  3. 3.Max Planck Institute of Empirical AestheticsFrankfurt am MainGermany
  4. 4.Institute of Epidemiology and Medical BiometryUlm UniversityUlmGermany
  5. 5.Paediatric Department, University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus DresdenTU DresdenDresdenGermany
  6. 6.Dr. v. Haunersches Kinderspital, University HospitalLMU MunichMunichGermany
  7. 7.Comprehensive Pneumology Centre Munich, Member of German Centre for Lung ResearchMunichGermany
  8. 8.Munich Center of Health Sciences (MC-Health)MunichGermany

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