Learning on the job, the use of selection, optimization, and compensation strategies, and their association with telomere length as an indicator of biological aging

  • Jeannette WeberEmail author
  • Rudolf Jörres
  • Angelika Kronseder
  • Andreas Müller
  • Matthias Weigl
  • Caroline Chmelar
Original Article



Due to the increased need for retention of older workforce caused by demographic changes in industrialized countries, support of healthy aging in occupational settings is of increasing relevance. This study examines the relationship between leucocyte telomere length (LTL), a potential biomarker for biological aging, and selection, optimization, and compensation (SOC) and learning opportunities as strategies involving efficient management and gain of resources at work.


Within a cross-sectional study, blood samples were drawn from 141 geriatric care professionals to measure LTL by quantitative real-time polymerase-chain reaction. Furthermore, all participants were asked with standardized questionnaires to rate their learning opportunities at work and use of SOC strategies. Analyses were performed by multiple linear regressions.


SOC use, especially compensation, tended to be negatively, and learning opportunities tended to be positively associated with LTL. Furthermore, a significant interaction was found between optimization and learning opportunities, such that LTL and learning opportunities were only positively associated when optimization was high.


Resources at work were weakly associated with telomere length, which is not unexpected in view of the multiplicity of factors affecting LTL. The results further suggest that a mismatch between SOC and learning opportunities may negatively affect successful aging. They also suggest that more detailed research on biological aging and its relation to resources at work is needed.


Learning opportunities Selection, optimization, compensation Telomere length Resources Aging 



This study was partly funded by the Munich Centre for Health Sciences (MC-Health).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical standards

The study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Medical Faculty of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich (no. 99-15).

Informed consent

Written informed consent was given by all study participants.

Supplementary material

420_2019_1408_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (148 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 148 KB)


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Occupational, Social and Environmental Medicine, Centre for Health and Society, Faculty of MedicineHeinrich-Heine-University of DüsseldorfDüsseldorfGermany
  2. 2.Institute and Outpatient Clinic for Occupational, Social and Environmental MedicineLudwig-Maximilians-University MunichMunichGermany
  3. 3.Work and Organizational Psychology, Faculty of EducationUniversity Duisburg-EssenEssenGermany

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