Scientists at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, examined almost 7,000 men who were taking part in a long-term population-based health study. None of the men had any history of diabetes, stroke or heart disease at the beginning of the research, and 15.5 percent said they experienced permanent or chronic stress related to conditions at work or home during the past 1 to 5 years.
Over the following 35 years, a total of 899 men developed type 2 diabetes and the researchers identified an association between stress levels and the metabolic condition.
The stress-diabetes connection remained statistically significant, even after taking other factors into account, such as age, levels of physical activity, body mass index, blood pressure and use of high blood pressure medication .
Masuma Novak, lead author of the study, which is published in the journal Diabetic Medicine, said: "Today, stress is not recognised as a preventable cause of diabetes.
"However our study shows that there is an independent link between permanent stress and the risk of developing diabetes, which underlines the importance of preventive measure."
Stress can have a huge impact on both physical and mental health, but there are many steps people can take to reduce and manage the stress in their lives, or avoid it altogether, and thus protect against type 2 diabetes and other associated health problems . For more information, visit www.stressmanagement.co.uk.