Epinephrine and cortisol responses to work: A test of the models of Frankenhaeuser and Karasek

Tessa M. Pollard, Giles Ungpakorn, Geoffrey Ainsworth Harrison, Katharine R. Parkes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Both Frankenhaeuser and Karasek have put forward models describing how job demand and control influence epinephrine and cortisol levels. These models were tested in a sample of 53 women and 51 men in a variety of occupations. They were studied over one rest day and two working days. Subjects reported their perceived demand and control and their mood on each day, as well as providing urine for assessment of urinary excretion rates of epinephrine and cortisol. In men, but not women, epinephrine levels were higher on the working days than on the rest day, and demand was found to covary positively with epinephrine, supporting Frankenhaeuser's model with respect to epinephrine variation in men. However, cortisol levels were not elevated on working days compared to the rest day, and no relationship between job control and cortisol was seen which is in contradiction of Frankenhaeuser's model with respect to cortisol variation. There was some suggestion that demand was most strongly associated with elevated epinephrine in men when job control was low in accordance with Karasek's model, but there was no evidence for such an effect with respect to cortisol.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-237
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1996
Externally publishedYes


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