Stress from work and social interactions put women at higher coronary heart disease risk

Stress from work and social interactions put women at higher coronary heart disease risk
Psychosocial stress -- typically resulting from difficulty coping with challenging environments -- may work synergistically to put women at significantly higher risk of developing coronary heart disease, according to a study by researchers at Drexel University s Dornsife School of Public Health, recently published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.


The study specifically suggests that the effects of job strain and social strain -- the negative aspect of social relationships -- on women is a powerful one-two punch. Together they are associated with a 21% higher risk of developing coronary heart disease. Job strain occurs when a woman has inadequate power in the workplace to respond to the job s demands and expectations.

The study also found that high-stress life events, such as a spouse s death, divorce/separation or physical or verbal abuse, as well as social strain, were each independently linked with a 12% and 9% higher risk of coronary heart disease, respectively.

The Drexel study used data from a nationally representative sample of 80,825 postmenopausal women from the Women s Health Initiative Observational Study, which tracked participants from 1991 to 2015, to find better methods of preventing cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis in women. In the current follow-up study, Drexel researchers evaluated the effect of psychosocial stress from job strain, stressful life events and social strain (through a survey), and associations among these forms of stress, on coronary heart disease.

Nearly 5% of the women developed coronary heart disease during the 14-year, seven-month study. Adjusting for age, time at a job, and socioeconomic characteristics, high-stress life events were associated with a 12% increased coronary heart disease risk, and high social strain was associated with a 9% increased risk of coronary heart disease. Work strain was not independently associated with coronary heart disease.

Coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States, occurs with the heart s arteries become narrow and cannot bring sufficient oxygenated blood to the heart. The latest work builds on earlier studies linking psychosocial stress to coronary heart disease by finding out how job strain and social strain work together to compound disease risk.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted ongoing stresses for women in balancing paid work and social stressors. We know from other studies that work strain may play a role in developing CHD, but now we can better pinpoint the combined impact of stress at work and at home on these poor health outcomes," said senior author Yvonne Michael, ScD, SM, an associate professor in the Dornsife School of Public Health. "My hope is that these findings are a call for better methods of monitoring stress in the workplace and remind us of the dual-burden working women face as a result of their unpaid work as caregivers at home ."

The study s authors say that future studies should look at the effects of shift work on coronary heart disease and explore the effects of job demands according to gender.

"Our findings are a critical reminder to women, and those who care about them, that the threat of stress to human health should not go ignored," said lead author Conglong Wang, PhD, a recent Dornsife graduate who conducted the research while at Drexel. "This is particularly pertinent during the stressors caused by a pandemic."

Materials provided by Drexel University . Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Drexel University. "Stress from work and social interactions put women at higher coronary heart disease risk." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 April 2021. .

Drexel University. "Stress from work and social interactions put women at higher coronary heart disease risk." ScienceDaily. (accessed April 9, 2021).



Jan. 20, 2021 — To understand what factors put younger individuals at higher risk of premature coronary heart disease, researchers analyzed more than 50 risk factors in 28,024 women who participated in the ...

June 18, 2019 — Thanks to advanced medical treatments, women diagnosed with breast cancer today will likely survive the disease. However, some treatment options put these women at greater risk for a number of other ...

Sep. 5, 2017 — Having a strong sense of coherence and good coping skills can help women facing adversity to overcome anxiety, research shows. The work found that women encountering difficult circumstances, such as ...

Apr. 26, 2016 — Women who work more than 10 years of rotating night shift work had a 15 to 18 percent increased risk of developing coronary heart disease, the most common type of heart disease, as compared with ...
News Topics :
Mental stress induced myocardial ischemia occurs in both men and women, although younger women tend to have more of this phenomenon. While MSIMI is linked to worse cardiovascular outcomes in both...
Having a stressful job is associated with a higher risk of a heart rhythm disorder called atrial fibrillation, according to research published today in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology,...
Even before the pandemic and the presidential election, Americans reported some of the highest perceived levels of stress in the world, according to the American Psychological Association. Not only does...
Maintaining positive thoughts and feelings through intervention programs can help patients achieve better overall outcomes when it comes to their cardiovascular health, according to a review paper published today in...
By Bahar Gholipour, Staff Writer Published 07/15/2014 10 30 AM EDT on LiveScience A double patty cheeseburger and fries may be one of the worst things to eat after...