Study links heart disease to low pay & work stress

Stress at the workplace combined with low reward for the effort put in at work can be the cause of heart disease in men.


Men who were working stressful jobs and not getting sufficient reward for the effort they put in are more prone to heart ailments than their counterparts who do not experience such stress.

This was revealed in a study published in the journal ‘Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes’. As per the study, the two main psychosocial stressors that cause heart disease are stressful jobs and being paid less at work. In fact, men who were not adequately paid for their work and were stressed from work have 49 per cent higher chance of developing a heart condition than men who did not experience such stressors. However, the study failed to establish a direct link between psychosocial job stressors and heart disease in working women.

Stress at work includes an uncomfortable work environment with employees having little control over their work and their jobs demanding too much of them. The work environment may become stressful even if the employees feel that they are not rewarded adequately for the effort they put in. That is, if they feel that the reward they get is way less than the effort they put into the work. This is called effort-reward imbalance.

This research began in 2000 wherein 6,500 employees without any heart ailments were monitored and followed for 18 years. The study revealed that adequate interventions could reduce risk of heart disease in men and could also be beneficial for women because these stressors could be the cause for depression too.

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