Outsourcing and stress: Physiological effects on bus drivers

B. Netterstrom et Am. Hansen, Outsourcing and stress: Physiological effects on bus drivers, STRESS MED, 16(3), 2000, pp. 149-160
Citations number
Categorie Soggetti
Journal title
ISSN journal
0748-8386 → ACNP
Year of publication
149 - 160
SICI code
The aim of this study was to evaluate the physiological effects of changes in work organization due to the outsourcing of bus routes. Twenty bus drive rs served as the study group. They were voluntarily transferred to work for another bus company after this company had won a tender from their former employer. Twenty drivers from the former employer served as the control gro up. At baseline, one month before the transfer, all were monitored for 2 da ys: blood pressure was measured every 2 hours while awake. On the first day , urine samples were collected in order to detect adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol, and blood samples were taken for the detection of lipids, gl ycated haemoglobine (HBA(1c)), fibrinogen, dehydroepiandrosteronsulfat (DHE AS-S) and prolactin. In addition, all participants filled out a questionnai re on health and work related items. Eight and 12 months later, a similar d ata collection took place in the study group. During the follow-up period, seven drivers in the study group left their job due to dissatisfaction with the working conditions and the remaining 13 drivers changed their attitude to the work place. in accordance with this, the drivers scored worse on qu estions regarding job satisfaction. After 12 months the following changes i n physiological measures were detected: increase in HbA(1c) (4.4-4.7 per ce nt; p < 0.001), urinary cortisol (7.3-12.1 nmol/mmol cretatinine; p = 0.04) and systolic blood pressure at work (129.4-134.d1; p = 0.04). In addition, a decrease in DHEAS-S (8.8-7.6 nmol/l; p = 0.06) was observed. The canges in systolic blood pressure and DHEAS-S were even higher after 8 months. The physiological changes were, as expected, in agreement with the assumption that metabolism turns to a catabolic direction during a period of perceived stress. The implications of the findings, which should be noted with caution due to the small size of the study and the selection during the follow-up first s uggest that outsourcing and other radical changes in the psychosocial work environment may lead to prolonged stress among employees. Second, that urin ary cortisol, HbA(1c), DEAH-S and ambulatory measurements of blood pressure are useful measures of chronic stress. Copyright (C) 2000 John Wiley & Son s, Ltd.