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Keywords:

  • cardiovascular;
  • depression;
  • diabetes;
  • musculoskeletal;
  • tumours

Abstract

The main goal of the present work was to longitudinally examine consequences of long-term moderately elevated levels of stress for various health outcomes. To address this issue, data covering 10 years was used from the ongoing Swedish population-based prospective Betula Study. Based on the ratings on a validated self-reported stress scale, matched subsamples between 40 and 65 years of age were divided into a high (n = 137) and low (n = 211) stress group. The reported incidence of cardiovascular, diabetes, psychiatric, tumour and musculoskeletal diseases was assessed 5 and 10 years after baseline (baseline = 1993–1995) without contaminating effects of past health history. The incidence of diseases 5 years after baseline assessment showed no differences between the groups. After 10 years, there was a significantly higher incidence of psychiatric diseases, mainly depression in the high-stress group as well as a significant effect for tumours, although the number of cases was low. Although moderately elevated stress level may have a possible impact on psychiatric diseases especially depression and some tumours, it seems that prolonged moderate stress does not appear to be harmful to other stress-related diseases. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.