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Stress at work may raise men’s risk for heart disease

Photo: Dobrila Vignjevic/iStockphoto

Québec City — Men who experience high levels of work-related stress and feel underappreciated at work may be twice as likely to develop heart disease than those who don’t.

That’s the conclusion of a recent study led by a team of Canadian researchers, who analyzed workers’ stress and effort-reward imbalance.

The imbalance occurs “when employees invest high effort into their work, but they perceive the rewards they receive in return – such as salary, recognition or job security – as insufficient or unequal to the effort,” lead study author Mathilde Lavigne-Robichaud says in a press release.

From 2000 to 2018, the researchers followed nearly 6,500 male and female white-collar workers in Canada who didn’t have cardiovascular disease. They used questionnaires to gauge the workers’ stress levels and any effort-reward imbalance.

Findings show that the men who reported work-related stress and effort-reward imbalance had a 49% higher risk of developing heart disease than those who didn’t.

“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,” Lavigne-Robichaud said. “Our study highlights the pressing need to proactively address stressful working conditions to create healthier work environments that benefit employees and employers.”

The researchers didn’t find a similar link among the women.

The study was published online in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

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