AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: Psychosocial stress in adulthood is associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, possibly mediated by behavioural and physiological factors. However, it is unknown whether low stress resilience earlier in life is related to subsequent development of type 2 diabetes. We examined whether low stress resilience in late adolescence is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in adulthood.
METHODS: We conducted a national cohort study of all 1,534,425 military conscripts in Sweden during 1969-1997 (97-98% of all 18-year-old men nationwide each year) without prior diagnosis of diabetes, who underwent standardised psychological assessment for stress resilience (on a scale of 1-9) and were followed up for type 2 diabetes identified from outpatient and inpatient diagnoses during 1987-2012 (maximum attained age 62 years).
RESULTS: There were 34,008 men diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 39.4 million person-years of follow-up. Low stress resilience was associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes after adjusting for BMI, family history of diabetes, and individual and neighbourhood socioeconomic factors (HR for lowest vs highest quintile: 1.51; 95% CI 1.46, 1.57; p
CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: These findings suggest that low stress resilience may play an important long-term role in aetiological pathways for type 2 diabetes. Further elucidation of the underlying causal factors may help inform more effective preventive interventions across the lifespan.
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