University of Oulu

Freni-Sterrantino A, Fiorito G, D’Errico A, Robinson O, Virtanen M, Ala-Mursula L, Järvelin M, Ronkainen J, Vineis P. Work-related stress and well-being in association with epigenetic age acceleration: A Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 Study. Aging (Albany NY). 2022; 14:1128-1156.

Work-related stress and well-being in association with epigenetic age acceleration : a Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 Study

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Author: Freni-Sterrantino, Anna1; Fiorito, Giovanni1,2; D’Errico, Angelo3;
Organizations: 1MRC Centre for Environment and Health, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Imperial College London, St Mary's Campus, London W2 1PG, United Kingdom
2Laboratory of Biostatistics, Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Sassari, Sassari 07100, Italy
3Department of Epidemiology, Local Health Unit TO 3, Turin 10095, Italy
4School of Educational Sciences and Psychology, University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu FI-80101, Finland
5Division of Insurance Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm 17177, Sweden
6Center for Life Course Health Research, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, Oulu 90014, Finland
7Grantham Institute for Climate Change and School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, United Kingdom
8IIGM – Italian Institute for Genomic Medicine (IIGM), IRCCS Candiolo, Torino 10060, Italy
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Impact Journals, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-06-28


Recent evidence indicates consistent association of low socioeconomic status with epigenetic age acceleration, measured from DNA methylation. As work characteristics and job stressors are crucial components of socioeconomic status, we investigated their association with various measures of epigenetic age acceleration.

The study population included employed and unemployed men and women (n=604) from the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966. We investigated the association of job strain, effort-reward imbalance and work characteristics with five biomarkers of epigenetic aging (Hannum, Horvath, PhenoAge, GrimAge, and DunedinPoAm).

Our results indicate few significant associations between work stress indicators and epigenetic age acceleration, limited to a range of ±2 years, and smoking recording the highest effect on GrimAge age acceleration biomarker between current and no smokers (median difference 4.73 years (IQR 1.18, 8.41). PhenoAgeAA was associated with job strain active work (β=-1.301 95%CI -2.391, -0.212), slowing aging of less than 1.5 years, and working as white-collar slowed aging six months (GrimAgeAA β=-0.683, 95%CI -1.264, -0.102) when compared to blue collars. Association was found for working for more than 40 hours per week that increased the aging over 1.5 years, (HorvathAA β =2.058 95%CI 0.517,3.599, HannumAA β=1.567, 95%CI 0.415,2.719).

The pattern of associations was different between women and men and some of the estimated effects are inconsistent with current literature. Our results provide the first evidence of association of work conditions with epigenetic aging biomarkers. However, further epidemiological research is needed to fully understand how work-related stress affects epigenetic age acceleration in men and women in different societies.

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Series: Aging
ISSN: 1945-4589
ISSN-E: 1945-4589
ISSN-L: 1945-4589
Volume: 14
Issue: 3
Pages: 1128 - 1156
DOI: 10.18632/aging.203872
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3111 Biomedicine
3142 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health
Funding: This work has been funded by the Colt Foundation with a grant to Paolo Vineis (Project: CF/03/18: Are unstable jobs such as the growing “gig economy” associated with biological age acceleration?”). NFBC1966 received financial support from University of Oulu Grant no. 24000692, Oulu University Hospital Grant no. 24301140, ERDF European Regional Development Fund Grant no. 539/2010 A31592. OR was supported by a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship (MR/S03532X/1).
Copyright information: © 2022 Freni-Sterrantino et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.