A form of psychological stress, job strain is defined as having a demanding job, but little to no decision-making authority or opportunities to use one's creative or individual skills. Michelle A. Albert, from Brigham and Woman’s Hospital (Massachusetts, USA), and colleagues analyzed job strain in 17,415 healthy women, average age 57 years, who participated in Women's Health Study. The subjects provided information on heart disease risk factors, job strain and job insecurity, and were followed for more than 10 years to track the development of cardiovascular disease. Women who reported having high job strain were at 40% increased risk of heart attacks, ischemic strokes, coronary artery bypass surgery or balloon angioplasty and death. The increased risk of heart attack was about 88%, while the risk of bypass surgery or invasive procedure was about 43%. As well, job insecurity – fear of losing one's job – was associated with risk factors for high blood pressure, increased cholesterol and excess body weight. The researchers urge that: “With the increase in dual career and childrearing responsibilities for women, these data emphasize the importance of assessing job stress in [cardiovascular disease] prevention efforts among working women.”
Natalie Slopen, Robert J Glynn, Julie Buring, Michelle A Albert. “Job Strain, Job Insecurity, and Incident Cardiovascular Disease in the Women's Health Study” (Abstract 18520). Circulation, 23 November 2010; 122: A18520.
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