Psychosocial Job Stress and Immunity: A Systematic Review

  • Akinori Nakata
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 934)


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.

Key words

Psychosocial job stress Immune system Psychoneuroimmunology Systematic review Work environment 



The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Applied Research and TechnologyNational Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and PreventionCincinnatiUSA

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