Men reporting both job strain and effort-reward imbalance were at twice the risk of heart disease compared with men who did not experience the combined stressors
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Men who work in stressful jobs and are paid less are twice at risk of heart disease as compared to men who were free of those psychosocial stressors, a new study has warned. The study, published in the journal ‘Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes’, showed that two psychosocial stressors -- job strain and effort-reward imbalance -- at work may increase heart disease risk.
“Considering the significant amount of time people spend at work, understanding the relationship between work stressors and cardiovascular health is crucial for public health and workforce well-being,” said Mathilde Lavigne-Robichaud, CHU de Quebec-University Laval Research Center in Quebec, Canada. The study revealed that men who experienced either job strain or effort-reward imbalance had a 49 per cent increase in risk of heart disease compared to men who didn’t report those stressors.
However, men reporting both job strain and effort-reward imbalance were at twice the risk of heart disease compared with men who did not experience the combined stressors. The impact of psychosocial stress at work on women’s heart health was inconclusive. According to Lavigne-Robichaud, ‘Job strain’ refers to work environments where employees face a combination of high job demands and low control over their work.
‘Effort-reward imbalance’ means when employees invest high effort into their work, but they perceive the rewards they receive in return as insufficient or unequal to the effort. Researchers studied nearly 6,500 workers, average age of 45 years old, without heart disease and followed them for 18 years, from 2000 to 2018. Researchers measured job strain and effort-reward imbalance with results from proven questionnaires and retrieved heart disease information using established health databases.
“Our results suggest that interventions aimed at reducing stressors from the work environment could be particularly effective for men and could also have positive implications for women, as these stress factors are associated with other prevalent health issues such as depression,” Robichaud said. “The study's inability to establish a direct link between psychosocial job stressors and coronary heart disease in women signals the need for further investigation into the complex interplay of various stressors and women’s heart health.” Robichaud added.
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