The relationship between psychosocial stress at work and mental health outcome is well-known. Brain-imaging studies hypothesize morphological brain modifications connected to work-related stress.To our knowledge this is the first study describing the link between work c haracteristics and brain imaging in a sample of work-related psychiatric patients assessed according to standardized clinical and diagnostic criteria. The aims of the study are: (1) to evaluate hippocampal and whole brain volumes in work-related psychiatric disturbances; (2) to verify the relationship between brain changes and the anxious and/or depressive symptoms; (3) to observe the relationship between the brain changes and the degree of the bullying at workplace. The hippocampus and whole brain volumes of 23 patients with work-related adjustment- disorders were compared with 15 controls by means of MRI. MR images highlight a smaller hippocampal volume in patients compared with controls. Significant reduction in the patients’gray matter was found in three brain areas: right inferior temporal gyrus, left cuneus, left inferior occipital gyrus. The reduction of the hippocampi volumes was related to work distress and , above all, to bullying at workplace. The results confirm that the morphological brain abnormalities could be involved in work-related psychiatric disturbances
Audience Take Away:
- A greater understanding of the work related stress disorder and of its possible physiopathological mechanisms.
- Work related-stress and bullying at workplace could be considered as a relevant life-event stressors and could be associated to poor mental health outcomes in a wide group of workers. The new world wide economic model of work, the ever increasing relevant role of job insecurity and injustice at workplace could be, currently, a significant variable about “global health”. We sustain with this study the need of achieving a wider knowledge of the pathogenetic mechanisms linked with these increasingly common disturbances of the contemporary societies.