Do you get stressed out at work? Often, stress can arise at work for a myriad of reasons—negative relationships, lack of knowledge, skill, ability, or time to complete tasks. Chronic exposure to stressful work environments often leads to emotional exhaustion, cynicism, and reduced personal accomplishment.
The job burnout of medical professionals has received the most attention. It is well-known that medical staff undertake heavy workloads and responsibilities, making them particularly vulnerable to occupational mental health and burnout problems. It is also valuable to study the job stress and job burnout of university teachers because university teachers are considered to be one of the most stressful occupations. Job stress endangers physical and mental health and leads to worse job burnout, which can hurt individuals, communities, and societies.
In this study, researchers investigated how the rs6265 in the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene interacts with the relationship between job stress and job burnout in 580 healthy Chinese university teachers and administrators. The rs6265 was selected for the study because there is increasing evidence that chronic stress may alleviate the association between the rs6265 and depressive symptoms. The most important roles of the BDNF include neurogenesis, mood changes, learning, and memory, and it is an essential protein in the brain that regulates eating, drinking, and body weight. Job stress was measured by the Chinese version of the House and Rizzo’s Work Stress Scale (WSS), which had solid reliability and validity. This questionnaire consists of 11 items, and the response to each item is rated on a 6-point scale (1=“completely disagree” and 6 =“completely agree”). Therefore, a higher score indicates a higher level of job stress. Job burnout was measured by the Chinese version of the Maslach Burnout Inventory-General Survey (MBI-GS), which had great reliability and validity and included three subscales for emotional exhaustion (EE), cynicism (CY), and reduced personal accomplishment (PA). Results indicated that C-allele carriers had lower job burnout under high job stress, especially on cynicism, meaning that individuals with TT genotype might be susceptible to stressful situations, which would lead to cynicism. On the other hand, the main effect of rs6265 for PA was not statistically significant.
One obvious limitation of this study is that all the participants were staff in a Chinese university, so the results of this study could not be generalized to other populations. While other things researchers may look at are how other factors influence job stress. If you would like to know more about this research, you can read the study here:
Are you interested in learning more about your genetic tendency for the impact of job stress on cynicism? You can log in to your Genomelink TRAITS to see this new genetic trait.