University of Oulu

Freni-Sterrantino A, Fiorito G, d’Errico A, Virtanen M, Ala-Mursula L, Järvelin M, Vineis P, Robinson O. Association between work characteristics and epigenetic age acceleration: cross-sectional results from UK – Understanding Society study. Aging (Albany NY). 2022 Oct 5; 14:7752-7773 .

Association between work characteristics and epigenetic age acceleration : cross-sectional results from UK – understanding society study

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Author: Freni-Sterrantino, Anna1,2; Fiorito, Giovanni1,3; d’Errico, Angelo4;
Organizations: 1MRC Centre for Environment and Health, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London W2 1PG, United Kingdom
2The Alan Turing Institute, John Dodson House, London NW1 2DB, United Kingdom
3Laboratory of Biostatistics, Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Sassari, Sassari 07100, Italy
4Department of Epidemiology, Local Health Unit TO 3, Turin 10095, Italy
5School of Educational Sciences and Psychology, University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu FI-80101, Finland
6Division of Insurance Medicine, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm 17177, Sweden
7Center for Life Course Health Research, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, Oulu 90014, Finland
8Ageing Epidemiology (AGE) Research Unit, School of Public Health, Imperial College of London, London W2 1PG, United Kingdom
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Impact Journals, 2022
Publish Date: 2023-05-03


Occupation-related stress and work characteristics are possible determinants of social inequalities in epigenetic aging but have been little investigated. Here, we investigate the association of several work characteristics with epigenetic age acceleration (AA) biomarkers. The study population included employed and unemployed men and women (n = 631) from the UK Understanding Society study. We evaluated the association of employment and work characteristics related to job type, job stability; job schedule; autonomy and influence at work; occupational physical activity; and feelings regarding the job with four epigenetic age acceleration biomarkers (Hannum, Horvath, PhenoAge, GrimAge) and pace of aging (DunedinPoAm, DunedinPACE). We fitted linear regression models, unadjusted and adjusted for established risk factors, and found the following associations for unemployment (years of acceleration): HorvathAA (1.51, 95% CI 0.08, 2.95), GrimAgeAA (1.53, 95% CI 0.16, 2.90) and 3.21 years for PhenoAA (95% CI 0.89, 5.33). Job insecurity increased PhenoAA (1.83, 95% CI 0.003, 3.67), while working at night was associated with an increase of 2.12 years in GrimAgeAA (95% CI 0.69, 3.55). We found effects of unemployment to be stronger in men and effects of night shift work to be stronger in women. These results provide evidence of associations between unemployment with accelerated ageing and suggest that insecure employment and night work may also increase age acceleration. Our findings have implications for policies relating to current changes in working conditions and highlight the utility of biological age biomarkers in studies in younger populations without long-term health information.

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Series: Aging
ISSN: 1945-4589
ISSN-E: 1945-4589
ISSN-L: 1945-4589
Volume: 14
Issue: 19
Pages: 7752 - 7773
DOI: 10.18632/aging.204327
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 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: C.F./03/18: Are unstable jobs such as the growing “gig economy associated with biological age acceleration?”). 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.