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Am J Epidemiol. 1987 Aug;126(2):280-91.

Stressful work conditions and diastolic blood pressure among blue collar factory workers.


The authors examined the relationships between stressful work conditions and diastolic blood pressure among blue collar men employed in similar occupational settings. The study population consisted of 288 male, hourly workers, aged 40-63 years, employed for a minimum of 10 years at one of two plants in the metropolitan Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area in January 1980. Blood pressure was assessed by the random zero muddler method by trained nurses at screenings between March 1981 and August 1982; 47 men who received pharmacologic treatment for previously diagnosed hypertension were excluded from the analyses. Multiple regression analyses showed that ratings of six (of 15) stressful work conditions as well as overall job dissatisfaction were significant predictors of diastolic blood pressure, controlling for age, body mass index, alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking habits, family history of hypertension, and severe noise-induced hearing loss. Men with elevated diastolic blood pressure reported having little opportunity for promotion and for participating in decisions at work, an uncertain job future, unsupportive coworkers and foreman, difficulties communicating with others, and overall dissatisfaction with the job. Additional stepwise multiple regression analyses showed that overall job satisfaction was related to low diastolic pressure among men from the plant rated as having overall good work conditions. These results are noteworthy because they support the importance of stressful work conditions and psychological reactions to those conditions in understanding the epidemiology of hypertension.

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