• work-related stress;
  • job strain;
  • dementia;
  • vascular dementia


To examine job control, job demands, social support at work, and job strain (ratio of demands to control) in relation to risk of any dementia, Alzheimer's disease (AD), and vascular dementia (VaD).


Cohort study.


The population-based Study of Dementia in Swedish Twins.


Two hundred fifty-seven people with dementia (167 AD, 46 VaD) and 9,849 without.


Dementia diagnoses were based on telephone screening for cognitive impairment followed by in-person clinical examination. An established job exposure matrix was matched to main occupation categories to measure work characteristics.


In generalized estimating equations (adjusted for the inclusion of complete twin pairs), lower job control was associated with greater risk of any dementia (odds ratio (OR) = 1.17, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.04–1.31) and VaD specifically (OR = 1.39, 95% CI = 1.07–1.81). Lower social support at work was associated with greater risk of dementia (OR = 1.15, 95% CI = 1.03–1.28), AD (OR = 1.14, 95% CI = 1.00–1.31), and VaD (OR = 1.28, 95% CI = 1.02–1.60). Greater job strain was associated with greater risk of VaD only (OR = 1.28, 95% CI = 1.02–1.60), especially in combination with low social support (OR = 1.35, 95% CI = 1.11–1.64). Age, sex, and education were controlled for. Work complexity, manual work, and vascular disease did not explain the results. No differences in work-related stress scores were observed in the 54 twin pairs discordant for dementia, although only two pairs included a twin with VaD.


Work-related stress, including low job control and low social support at work, may increase the risk of dementia, particularly VaD. Modification to work environment, including attention to social context and provision of meaningful roles for employees, may contribute to efforts to promote cognitive health.