Work Stress Linked to Double the Risk of Heart Disease in Men

Work Stress Linked to Double the Risk of Heart Disease in Men

A new study published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Heart Association, has found that men who experience high levels of work stress and low job rewards are twice as likely to develop heart disease compared to those who don’t report these stressors. The study highlights the urgent need to address stressful working conditions in order to create healthier work environments that benefit both employees and employers.

The research focused on two psychosocial stressors: job strain and effort-reward imbalance. Job strain refers to high-demand work environments coupled with low control over tasks and decision-making. Effort-reward imbalance occurs when employees put in high effort but perceive inadequate or unequal rewards in return, such as salary or recognition.

The study revealed that men who reported either job strain or effort-reward imbalance had a 49% increased risk of heart disease. Those who experienced both stressors were at double the risk compared to men who did not report these stressors. However, the impact of work stress on women’s heart health was inconclusive, suggesting the need for further investigation.

Interventions aimed at reducing work stressors could be particularly effective in preventing heart disease in men. Providing support resources, promoting work-life balance, enhancing communication, and empowering employees to have more control over their work are potential strategies. The study also emphasizes the importance of prioritizing the workplace as a vehicle for improving overall cardiovascular health.

The research involved almost 6,500 white-collar workers without heart disease and followed them for 18 years. It included nearly equal numbers of men and women in various job roles. However, one limitation is that the study primarily focused on white-collar workers in Quebec, Canada, and may not fully represent the diversity of the American working population.

Overall, these findings emphasize the need for proactive measures to address work-related stress and promote a healthier work environment, which can have significant implications for reducing the prevalence of heart disease and improving overall well-being.

– Lavigne-Robichaud, M., et al. (2023) Psychosocial Stressors at Work and Coronary Heart Disease Risk in Men and Women: 18-Year Prospective Cohort Study of Combined Exposures. Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.
– American Heart Association

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