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Regional Gray Matter Volume Related to High Occupational Stress in Firefighters

 Deokjong Lee  ;  Woojin Kim  ;  Jung Eun Lee  ;  Junghan Lee  ;  Seung-Koo Lee  ;  Sei-Jin Chang  ;  Da Yee Jeung  ;  Dae-Sung Hyun  ;  Hye-Yoon Ryu  ;  Changsoo Kim  ;  Young-Chul Jung 
 JOURNAL OF KOREAN MEDICAL SCIENCE, Vol.36(50) : e335, 2021-12 
Journal Title
Issue Date
Firefighters ; Gray Matter Volume ; Neuropsychology ; Stress
Background: Firefighters inevitably encounter emotionally and physically stressful situations at work. Even firefighters without diagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder receive clinical attention because the nature of the profession exposes them to repetitive trauma and high occupational stress. This study investigated gray matter abnormalities related to high occupational stress in firefighters using voxel-based morphometry (VBM) and surface-based morphometry (SBM).

Methods: We assessed 115 subjects (112 males and 3 females) using magnetic resonance imaging and evaluated occupational stress by the Korean Occupational Stress Scale-26 (KOSS-26). Subjects were classified into highly or lowly stressed groups based on the median value of the KOSS-26.

Results: In VBM analysis, we found that firefighters with high occupational stress had lower gray matter volume (GMV) in both sides of the insula, the left amygdala, the right medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), and the anterior cingulate cortex than firefighters with low occupational stress. In SBM analysis based on regions of interest, the GMV of the bilateral insula and right mPFC were also lower in the highly stressed group. Within the highly stressed group, low GMV of the insula was significantly correlated with the length of service (left: r = -0.347, P = 0.009; right: r = -0.333, P = 0.012).

Conclusion: Our findings suggest that regional GMV abnormalities are related to occupational stress. Regional gray matter abnormalities and related emotional dysregulation may contribute to firefighter susceptibility to burnout.
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1. College of Medicine (의과대학) > Dept. of Preventive Medicine (예방의학교실) > 1. Journal Papers
1. College of Medicine (의과대학) > Dept. of Psychiatry (정신과학교실) > 1. Journal Papers
1. College of Medicine (의과대학) > Dept. of Radiology (영상의학교실) > 1. Journal Papers
Yonsei Authors
Kim, Woojin(김우진) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5520-4228
Kim, Chang Soo(김창수) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5940-5649
Lee, Deokjong(이덕종) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5425-4677
Lee, Seung Koo(이승구) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5646-4072
Lee, Jung Eun(이정은)
Lee, Junghan(이정한)
Jung, Young Chul(정영철) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0578-2510
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