Study type: Epidemiological study (observational study)

Investigating the effects of exposure to extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields on job burnout syndrome and the severity of depression; the role of oxidative stress. epidem.

Published in: J Occup Health 2020; 62 (1): e12136

Aim of study (acc. to author)

A cross-sectional study was conducted in Iran to investigate the possible effect of exposure to extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields on occupational burnout syndrome and the severity of depression experienced among thermal power plant workers. Furthermore, the role of oxidative stress in developing burnout syndrome and depression should be examined.

Further details

The participants filled in questionnaires of the Maslach Burnout Inventory and Beck's Depression Inventory to assess the burnout syndrome and the severity of depression. Blood samples of all participants were collected to analyze the SOD, catalase, total antioxidant capacity and malondialdehyde levels.

Endpoint/type of risk estimation

Type of risk estimation:

Exposure

Assessment

Exposure groups

Group Description
Reference group 1 unexposed group (hospital administrative staff): 1.4 ± 0,82 µT (mean magnetic flux density)
Group 2 exposed group (employees of a thermal power plant): 23.8 ± 14.64 µT (mean magnetic flux density)
Reference group 3 unexposed group (hospital administrative staff): 3.8 ± 1.75 V/m (mean electric field strength)
Group 4 exposed group (employees of a thermal power plant): 24.9 ± 12.9 V/m (mean electric field strength)

Population

Study size

Type Value
Total 147
Participants 115
Other:

unexposed group: 124 hospital administrative staff

Statistical analysis method:

Conclusion (acc. to author)

In the exposed group the malondialdehyde and SOD levels were significantly lower in comparison to the unexposed group. The exposed group reported more often burnout syndrome and higher depression severity compared to the unexposed group. Work experience, malondialdehyde level and levels of exposure to magnetic fields were identified as the most important predictor variables for burnout syndrome and severity of depression. Moreover, a decrease in the catalase level was associated with increased burnout syndrome.
The authors concluded that thermal power plant workers exposed to extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields were at risk of burnout syndrome and depression. These effects might be caused directly by occupational exposure to magnetic fields or indirectly due to increased oxidative stress indices.

Study funded by

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