The objective of the study was to analyse and evaluate the health status of a group of 28 nurses of a University Hospital in Rome who had shown menstrual irregularities related to work stress in an earlier study. The nurses, participants in the previous study, were followed up and re-interviewed ten years later to ascertain changes in their social and demographic status, their work history, their health conditions and their pregnancy outcomes. The results show that nurses had moved to less stressful hospital units and had modified their work and life style habits to reduce their health risks. Nonetheless, they are affected by chronic diseases, high stress perception, low satisfaction at work and depressive mood. An increased risk for non-voluntary abortion among nurses working in high stress units among those aged 30 and over at the time of conception and among smokers was also observed. The study suggests that working in high stress units affects negatively the health of nurses more than ageing especially when the demands on the women increase with the formation of a family. © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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