Using social epidemiology and neuroscience to explore the relationship between job stress and frontotemporal cortex activity among workers

Shingo Kawasaki, Yukika Nishimura, Ryu Takizawa, Shinsuke Koike, Akihide Kinoshita, Yoshihiro Satomura, Eisuke Sakakibara, Hanako Sakurada, Mika Yamagishi, Fumichika Nishimura, Akane Yoshikawa, Aya Inai, Masaki Nishioka, Yosuke Eriguchi, Chihiro Kakiuchi, Tsuyoshi Araki, Chiemi Kan, Maki Umeda, Akihito Shimazu, Hideki HashimotoNorito Kawakami, Kiyoto Kasai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Mental health problems, such as depression, are increasingly common among workers. Job-related stresses, including psychological demands and a lack of discretion in controlling one’s own work environment, are important causal factors. However, the mechanisms through which job-related stress may affect brain function remain unknown. We sought to identify the relationship between job-related stress and frontotemporal cortex activation using near-infrared spectroscopy. Seventy-nine (45 females, 34 males) Japanese employees, aged 26–51 years, were recruited from respondents to the Japanese Study of Stratification, Health, Income, and Neighborhood survey. Job-related stress was measured using the Japanese version of Job Content Questionnaire, which can index “job demand” and “job control”. We found a significant correlation between higher “job demand” and smaller oxygenated hemoglobin [oxy-Hb] changes in the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in female (r = −.54 to −.44). Significant correlations between higher “job control” and greater [oxy-Hb] changes in the right temporal cortex were observed among male, and in the combined sample (r = .46–.64). This initial cross-sectional observation suggests that elevated job-related stress is related to decrease frontotemporal cortex activation among workers. Integrating social epidemiology and neuroscience may be a powerful strategy for understanding how individuals’ brain functions may mediate between the job-related stress or psychosocial work characteristics and public mental health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-242
Number of pages13
JournalSocial Neuroscience
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015 May 4
Externally publishedYes


  • Frontotemporal cortex activation
  • Job demand-control model
  • Job-related stress
  • Near-infrared spectroscopy
  • Social epidemiolog

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Development
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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