Press Release - Nov 14, 2010
Women with High Job Strain Have Increased Risk of Heart Disease
presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2010 showed
that women who reported having high job strain and active job strain have 40% and
56% increased risk of cardiovascular disease respectively including heart
attacks and the need for invasive heart procedures compared to women with low
job strain. Job strain, a form of
psychological stress, is defined as having a demanding job that provides
limited opportunity for decision making or to use one's creative or individual
skills. The study also found that job
insecurity or fear of losing one's job and job strain were both associated with
risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as high blood pressure, increased
cholesterol and excess body weight.
However, unlike job strain, job insecurity was not directly related to
the development of actual heart attacks, stroke, invasive heart procedures or
long term studies of job strain and heart disease risk have mainly focused on
men and a more restricted set of cardiovascular conditions. According the study's senior author, associate
physician/Cardiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital and assistant professor
at Harvard Medical School in Boston Mass, Michelle A. Albert, M.D M.P.H , " our study indicates that there are
possibly immediate and definite long term clinically documented cardiovascular health
effects of job strain in women; your job can positively and negatively affect
health making it of importance for women and their health care providers to pay
attention to the stresses of their job as part of the total health package".
analyzed information about job strain and heart disease from 17, 415 healthy
women over 10 years of who participated in the landmark Women's Health
Study. The women were primarily Caucasian
health professionals with an average age of 57 years old who provided
information about heart disease risk factors, job strain and job
insecurity. A standard questionnaire was
used to evaluate job strain and job insecurity that asked for responses to questions
such as " My job requires working very fast", "My job requires working very
hard" and "I am free from competing demands that others make".
Slopen, Sc.D, lead researcher and a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard University Center
on the Developing Child noted that "women in jobs characterized by high demands
and low control as well as jobs with high demands and high sense of control are
at higher risk for heart disease long term".
Added Dr. Albert, "from a public health perspective, it is crucial for
employers as well as government and hospital entities to monitor perceived employee
job strain and initiate strategies to manage job strain and perhaps positively
impact prevention of heart disease, employee productivity and business
are Robert Glynn Ph.D and Julie Buring, ScD.
Author disclosures are on the abstract.
Institutes of Health funded the Women's Health Study.