Saf Health Work.  2011 Jun;2(2):169-175.

Correlation of Occupational Stress Index with 24-hour Urine Cortisol and Serum DHEA Sulfate among City Bus Drivers: A Cross-sectional Study

  • 1Department of Environmental and Occupational Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.
  • 2Division of Biostatistics, College of Public Health, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan.
  • 3Department of Business Administration, College of Management, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan.


OBJECTIVES: The questionnaire of occupational stress index (OSI) has been popular in the workplace, and it has been tailored for bus drivers in Taiwan. Nevertheless, its outcomes for participants are based on self-evaluations, thus validation by their physiological stress biomarker is warranted and this is the main goal of this study.
A cross-sectional study of sixty-three city bus drivers and fifty-four supporting staffs for comparison was conducted. Questionnaire surveys, 24-hour urine cortisol testing, and blood draws for dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate (DHEA-S) testing were performed. The measured concentrations of these biological measures were logarithmically transformed before the statistical analysis where various scores of stressor factors, moderators, and stress effects of each OSI domain were analyzed by applying multiple linear regression models.
For drivers, the elevated 24-hour urine cortisol level was associated with a worker's relationship with their supervisor and any life change events in the most recent 3 months. The DHEA-S level was higher in drivers of younger age as well as drivers with more concerns relating to their salary and bonuses. Non-drivers showed no association between any stressor or satisfaction and urine cortisol and blood DHEA-S levels.
Measurements of biomarkers may offer additional stress evaluations with OSI questionnaires for bus drivers. Increased DHEA-S and cortisol levels may result from stressors like income security. Prevention efforts towards occupational stress and life events and health promotional efforts for aged driver were important anti-stress remedies.


Driver; Stress; Cortisol; DHEA; Life change events
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