A longitudinal general population-based study of job strain and risk for coronary heart disease and stroke in Swedish men

BMJ Open (Impact Factor: 2.27). 03/2014; 4(3):e004355. DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2013-004355
Source: PubMed


The aim was to investigate whether psychosocial stress based on the job-demand-control (JDC) model increased the risk for coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke.
Swedish men.
The Primary Prevention Study (PPS) comprises 6070 men born between 1915 and 1925 free from previous history of CHD and stroke at baseline (1974-1977). Psychosocial workplace exposure was assessed using a job-exposure matrix (JEM) for the JDC model based on occupation at baseline. The participants were followed from baseline examination, until death, until hospital discharge or until 75 years of age, whichever occurred first, using the Swedish national register on cause of death and the Swedish hospital discharge register for non-fatal and fatal stroke and CHD events. Cox regression models were used with stroke or CHD as the outcome, using JDC model and age as explanatory variables, as well as stratified models with regard to smoking, self-reported stress, socioeconomic status, obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Risk for stroke and CHD.
There was an increased risk (HR) for CHD in relation to high strain (HR 1.31, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.70). The risk was further increased among ever-smokers and among blue-collar workers. There was a relation between low control and increased risk for CHD (HR 1.19, 95% CI 1.06 to 1.35). There was no increased risk for stroke in any of the JDC categories.
Exposure to occupational psychosocial stress defined as job strain or low control increased the risk for CHD, especially among smokers and blue-collar workers. There was no increased risk for stroke in any of the JDC categories.

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Available from: Mia Söderberg, Mar 25, 2015
    • "Blue-collar jobs tend to be characterized by lower levels of autonomy, lower intellectual discretion and poorer task variety as compared to white-collar jobs [27]. The JDC model was initially developed with data from blue-collar professions, and consequently may capture work stressors that are more pertinent to this occupational subpopulation [26]. By contrast, there is emerging evidence that OJ is relatively more impactful among white-collar employees [28] [29], which has been attributed to their specific relationship with their employer, involving obligations and expectations beyond the formal contract, implying high levels of commitment and trust [28]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives: Musculoskeletal pain has been found to co-occur with psychosocial job stress. However, different conceptualizations of job stress exist, each emphasizing different aspects of the work environment, and it is unknown which of these aspects show the strongest associations with musculoskeletal pain. Further, these associations may differ for white-collar vs. blue-collar job types, but this has not been tested. The present study examined the independent and combined contributions of Effort-Rewardlmbalance (ERI), Job-Demand-Control (JDC) and Organizational Justice (OD to musculoskeletal pain symptoms among white- and blue-collar workers. Methods: Participants of a cross-sectional study (n = 1634) completed validated questionnaires measuring ERI, JDC, and OJ, and reported the frequency of pain during the previous year at four anatomical locations (lower back, neck or shoulder, arms and hands, and knees/feet). Pain reports were summarized into a single musculoskeletal symptom score (MSS). Analyses were stratified for white- and blue-collar workers. Results: Among white-collar workers, ER! and OJ were independently associated with MSS. In addition to these additive effects, significant 2-way and 3-way interactions indicated a synergistic effect of job stressors in relation to reported pain. In blue-collar workers, ERI and JDC independently associated with MSS, and a significant 3-way interaction was observed showing that the combination of job stressors exceeded an additive effect. Conclusion: ERI influences pain symptoms in both occupational groups. OJ was independent significant predictor only among white-collar workers, whereas JDC had additive predictive utility exclusively among blue-collar workers. Simultaneous exposure to multiple job stress factors appeared to synergize pain symptom reporting. (C) 2015 Published by Elsevier Inc.
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to investigate whether psychosocial stress defined as high strain based on the job demand-control model increases risk for atrial fibrillation. The present study comprised 6035 men born between 1915 and 1925 and free from previous coronary heart disease, atrial fibrillation and stroke at baseline (1974-1977). Work-related psychosocial stress was measured using a job-exposure matrix for the job demand-control model based on occupation at baseline. The participants were followed from baseline examination until death, hospital discharge or 75 years of age, using the Swedish national register on cause of death and the Swedish hospital discharge register for any registration for atrial fibrillation, resulting in the identification of 436 cases. Data were analysed with Cox regression models with atrial fibrillation as the outcome using high strain as the explanatory variable adjusted for age, smoking, body mass index, hypertension, diabetes and socioeconomic status. There was an increased risk for atrial fibrillation in relation to high strain (HR 1.32, 95% CI 1.003 to 1.75). When the four categories of the job-strain model were included and low strain was used as reference, the risk for high strain decreased (HR 1.23, 95% CI 0.84 to 1.82). Exposure to occupational psychosocial stress defined as high strain may be associated with increased risk for atrial fibrillation. The observed increase in risk is small and residual confounding may also be present. Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to
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    ABSTRACT: The overall aims of this thesis were to improve our understanding of (1) associations between adverse psychosocial work conditions and less explored cardiovascular outcomes, and (2) workers’ perceptions and reactive behaviour when exposed to such conditions. Psychosocial job environment was evaluated with the job demand-control and effort-reward imbalance models. In the former construct, demand captures psychological work load, while control measures the employee’s influence over work tasks. Conceptually, effort is similar to job demand in measuring work intensity, while reward measures salary, esteem from colleagues and management, and job security. Examined subjects were drawn from three cohorts: randomly selected residents from Greater Gothenburg, patients with new onset acute coronary syndrome from the West county of Sweden and Swedish male construction workers. Results in paper I illustrated that a combination of high demands-low control, commonly referred to as high strain, and imbalance between effort and reward was related to adverse values in intermediate cardiovascular heart disease risk factors, foremost blood pressure and blood lipids. Surprisingly, findings in paper II showed that work conditions characterized by high demands-high control were more strongly associated to increased ischemic stroke, than high strain. Furthermore, high strained and effort-reward imbalanced jobs predicted job mobility in a general population sample (Paper III) and were related to delayed return to work and fear-avoidance perceptions towards the workplace, among patients with new onset acute coronary syndrome (Paper IV). Fear-avoidance attributions, in turn, mediated the relationship between poor psychosocial conditions and expected work resumption. The results partly concur with previous evidence on links between psychosocial job factors and cardiovascular outcomes. The results also indicate that workers are not passive receptors to impairing job conditions, but both react to and actively try to improve or avoid detrimental work environment, and consequently protect their health. In the gender stratified analyses (paper I, III, IV) notable differences were detected, as psychosocial job dimensions were not related to blood pressure, job mobility, expected return to work or fear-avoidance attributions among women. These differences could be due to a gender segregated labour market or lack of precision in reflecting female dominated work cultures. Further explanations might be that for women, private life stressors, e.g. child care or household work, deflate relationships between the psychosocial factors and outcomes used in this thesis.
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