The relation between work-induced neuroendocrine reactivity and recovery, subjective need for recovery, and health status

J Psychosom Res. 2001 Jan;50(1):29-37. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3999(00)00213-0.


Objectives: The purpose of this cross-sectional study with repeated measurements was to find out to what extent neuroendocrine reactivity during work and neuroendocrine recovery from work, and work characteristics, are related to subjective need for recovery and perceived health status.

Methods: Neuroendocrine reactivity and recovery were studied in 59 subjects by measuring urinary adrenaline and cortisol repeatedly during five consecutive days. Measures of work characteristics, subjective need for recovery, and health status were obtained by self-reports. Two hierarchical multiple linear regression analyses were performed.

Results: The work characteristics alone explained 39% and 28% of the variation in subjective need for recovery and health status, respectively, while these figures rose to 49% and 53% in the full models. Significant neuroendocrine contributors were found for cortisol in reactivity during work and recovery immediately after work and recovery during the day off-work, and for adrenaline in baseline level and recovery during the day off-work. Job characteristics contributed significantly as well.

Conclusion: Both neuroendocrine measures and work characteristics were predictors for the amount of perceived need for recovery after work as well as for health status. The results are consistent with the cognitive activation theory of stress.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Epinephrine / urine
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / urine
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurosecretory Systems / physiology*
  • Recovery of Function / physiology*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Social Support
  • Work / physiology*
  • Work / psychology
  • Workload / psychology


  • Hydrocortisone
  • Epinephrine