The psychological and physical health effects of digital stress have rarely been investigated so far. Although the long-term health effects of chronic stress (e.g. when caring for ill relatives or for long-term job overload) are well understood, there are few attempts to use this knowledge to understand the associations between digital stress and health.
To address this gap in our knowledge, this project will investigate bio-psychological responses to digital stressors (e.g., in multi-tasking situations or as reactions to work interruptions) using laboratory experiments. The biological stress responses will be measured via stress hormones in saliva as well as physiological measures such as heart rate, heart rate variability, and blood pressure.
Furthermore, the long-term health effects of chronic exposure to digital stressors at work will be investigated. Basal activity of stress systems will be assessed by measuring stress hormones in saliva, and inflammatory processes will be measured from capillary blood. Stress system alterations as well as inflammation are risk factors for the development of common diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, or cancer.
Finally, the effects of potential positive factors such as digital eustress (i.e., positive stress) as well as stress-management smartphone apps on the biological stress response will be evaluated.