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Psychosocial Stressors at Work and Coronary Heart Disease Risk in Men and Women: 18-Year Prospective Cohort Study of Combined Exposures

Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes. 2023 Sep 19:e009700. doi: 10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.122.009700. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Psychosocial stressors at work, like job strain and effort-reward imbalance (ERI), can increase coronary heart disease (CHD) risk. ERI indicates an imbalance between the effort and received rewards. Evidence about the adverse effect of combined exposure to these work stressors on CHD risk is scarce. This study examines the separate and combined effect of job strain and ERI exposure on CHD incidence in a prospective cohort of white-collar workers in Quebec, Canada.

METHODS: Six thousand four hundred sixty-five white-collar workers without cardiovascular disease (mean age, 45.3±6.7) were followed for 18 years (from 2000 to 2018). Job strain and ERI were measured with validated questionnaires. CHD events were retrieved from medico-administrative databases using validated algorithms. Marginal Cox models were used to calculate hazard ratios (HR) stratified by sex. Multiple imputation and inverse probability weights were applied to minimize potential threats to internal validity.

RESULTS: Among 3118 men, 571 had a first CHD event. Exposure to either job strain or ERI was associated with an adjusted 49% CHD risk increase (HR, 1.49 [95% CI, 1.07-2.09]). Combined exposure to job strain and ERI was associated with an adjusted 103% CHD risk increase (HR, 2.03 [95% CI, 1.38-2.97]). Exclusion of early CHD cases and censoring at retirement did not alter these associations. Among 3347 women, 265 had a first CHD event. Findings were inconclusive (passive job HR, 1.24 [95% CI, 0.80-1.91]; active job HR, 1.16 [95% CI, 0.70-1.94]; job strain HR, 1.08 [95% CI, 0.66-1.77]; ERI HR, 1.02 [95% CI, 0.72-1.45]).

CONCLUSIONS: In this prospective cohort study, men exposed to job strain or ERI, separately and in combination, were at increased risk of CHD. Early interventions on these psychosocial stressors at work in men may be effective prevention strategies to reduce CHD burden. Among women, further investigation is required.

PMID:37724474 | DOI:10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.122.009700

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