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Risk factors for mental workload: influence of the working environment, cardiovascular health and lifestyle. A cross-sectional study
  1. María Luisa López-López1,
  2. Serafín Balanza-Galindo2,
  3. Tomás Vera-Catalán2,
  4. Juana Inés Gallego-Gómez2,
  5. María Teresa Rodríguez González-Moro2,
  6. José Miguel Rivera-Caravaca2,3,
  7. Agustín Javier Simonelli-Muñoz2
  1. 1 Risk Prevention Service in Torrevieja Town hall, Alicante, Spain
  2. 2 Faculty of Nursing, Catholic University of Murcia (UCAM), Murcia, Spain
  3. 3 Department of Cardiology, Hospital Clínico Universitario Virgen de la Arrixaca, Instituto Murciano de Investigación Biosanitaria (IMIB-Arrixaca), Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red Enfermedades Cardiovasculares (CIBERCV), Murcia, Spain
  1. Correspondence to Dr Agustín Javier Simonelli-Muñoz; agsimonelli{at}


Objectives Mental workload is a condition which can negatively influence the overall health of workers. In this study, we aimed to investigate the risk factors for the onset of mental workload, including working conditions, cardiovascular comorbidities and lifestyle habits, in a working population.

Methods This is a cross-sectional study including 408 workers from a risk prevention service of small/medium companies in Murcia (Spain). Workers from the secondary and tertiary sectors or primary/secondary sectors with administrative management tasks who underwent a routine medical examination between 1 January 2017 and 31 April 2017 were included. Workers from the primary sector and construction were excluded to avoid a sex and age bias.

Results From 408 workers, 206 (50.5%) were females; with mean age 36.8±10.4 years. 164 (40.2%) workers had a moderate to significant risk of mental workload. Based on multivariate logistic regression analyses, independent predictors of mental workload were age ≥30 years (OR 2.42, 95% CI 1.22 to 4.80; p=0.012), working in tertiary (OR 7.89, 95% CI 3.59 to 17.31; p<0.001) or administrative sectors (OR 87.57, 95% CI 35.22 to 217.79; p<0.001) and alcohol consumption (OR 2.08, 95% CI 1.16 to 3.73; p=0.014). Smoking habit (OR 0.47, 95% CI 0.26 to 0.85; p=0.012) was found as a protective variable so non-smoking was considered as a risk factor.

Conclusion In the present study from a risk prevention service including workers of small/medium companies from the secondary and tertiary sectors and workers with administrative tasks, the labour sector, age, alcohol consumption and smoking habits, are independently associated with a higher risk of developing moderate to significant mental workload.

  • mental workload
  • cardiovascular risk
  • lifestyle habits
  • workplace

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  • Contributors MLLL, AJSM, JIGG and SB-G designed the present work and collaborated to data acquisition. TVC and MTRG-M revised the current literature and wrote the first draft of the article. JMR-C performed statistical analyses, drafted and critically revised the manuscript. All authors contributed to and have approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding Funding for this study was provided by the Catholic University of Murcia (UCAM) (research grant PMAFI/28/14).

  • Disclaimer The UCAM had no role in the study design neither in the collection, interpretation and analysis of data.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Ethics approval The study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Catholic University of Murcia (UCAM).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement All data relevant to this manuscript will not be available on acceptance.

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