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22.01.2019 | Original Article | Ausgabe 3/2019

International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health 3/2019

Learning on the job, the use of selection, optimization, and compensation strategies, and their association with telomere length as an indicator of biological aging

International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health > Ausgabe 3/2019
Jeannette Weber, Rudolf Jörres, Angelika Kronseder, Andreas Müller, Matthias Weigl, Caroline Chmelar
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s00420-019-01408-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Due to the increased need for retention of older workforce caused by demographic changes in industrialized countries, support of healthy aging in occupational settings is of increasing relevance. This study examines the relationship between leucocyte telomere length (LTL), a potential biomarker for biological aging, and selection, optimization, and compensation (SOC) and learning opportunities as strategies involving efficient management and gain of resources at work.


Within a cross-sectional study, blood samples were drawn from 141 geriatric care professionals to measure LTL by quantitative real-time polymerase-chain reaction. Furthermore, all participants were asked with standardized questionnaires to rate their learning opportunities at work and use of SOC strategies. Analyses were performed by multiple linear regressions.


SOC use, especially compensation, tended to be negatively, and learning opportunities tended to be positively associated with LTL. Furthermore, a significant interaction was found between optimization and learning opportunities, such that LTL and learning opportunities were only positively associated when optimization was high.


Resources at work were weakly associated with telomere length, which is not unexpected in view of the multiplicity of factors affecting LTL. The results further suggest that a mismatch between SOC and learning opportunities may negatively affect successful aging. They also suggest that more detailed research on biological aging and its relation to resources at work is needed.

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