A new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association suggests that stressed-out male workers who feel under-appreciated may be at an increased risk of developing potentially deadly heart disease. The ambitious study, conducted by Canadian researchers over a span of nearly two decades, focused on the effects of stress and “effort-reward imbalance” (ERI) on coronary collapse.
The study revealed that men who experienced either stress or ERI had a 49% higher risk of heart disease compared to men who did not report those stresses. Furthermore, men who reported both stress and ERI together were found to be at twice the risk for heart disease. These findings parallel the harmful effects that obesity can have on a man’s health.
Lead study author Mathilde Lavigne-Robichaud explained that job strain refers to work environments where employees face high job demands and low control over their work. ERI, on the other hand, occurs when employees invest high effort into their work but perceive the rewards they receive as inadequate or unequal to their efforts. Heart disease can decrease blood flow to the heart, potentially leading to a heart attack.
The researchers followed 6,465 white-collar workers, both men and women, who did not have cardiovascular disease over a period of 18 years. While there was a significant link between stress and ERI and heart disease in men, no such link was found in female participants. The researchers highlighted the need to address stressful working conditions to create healthier work environments that benefit both employees and employers.
It is important to note that since the study was conducted in Canada, the findings may not reflect the diversity of the working population in the United States. Nevertheless, the study suggests that interventions aimed at reducing stressors in the work environment could be particularly effective in preventing heart disease in men and may also have positive implications for women’s health.
In conclusion, this study highlights the potential health risks of stress and under-appreciation at work for men, emphasizing the need for proactive measures to create healthier work environments. Further research is needed to explore the complex interplay of various stressors and women’s heart health.
– Journal of the American Heart Association, Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes
– Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)