Evidence is limited concerning the influences of high psychological job strain and low social support at work on daytime secretion of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), which demonstrates anti-cortisol effects. We carried out a cross-sectional study to examine the associations of job strain and social support with daytime secretion amounts of DHEA and cortisol and daytime variation of the cortisol-to-DHEA ratio (C/D ratio) in healthy female workers. Study subjects comprised 115 healthy female nursery school teachers. Area under the curve with respect to ground (AUCG) of salivary DHEA, cortisol and C/D ratio was calculated for estimation of daytime secretion and variation. Social support scores were negatively associated with daytime DHEA secretion (standardized partial regression coefficient = -0.343, P < 0.001 by multiple linear regression analysis). This association remained significant when daytime cortisol secretion was additionally adjusted. Social support was not associated with daytime variation of the C/D ratio. Significant association between social support and daytime cortisol secretion was not confirmed. Job strain was not associated with DHEA, cortisol or the C/D ratio. In summary, we found that daytime DHEA secretion was increased in healthy workers with low social support, perhaps independent of daytime cortisol secretion.
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