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Ann Behav Med. 2004 Aug;28(1):62-73.

Job characteristics, occupational status, and ambulatory cardiovascular activity in women.

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  • 1SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, San Diego State University, CA 92120, USA.



Prior research concerning the effects of occupational status and work stress on ambulatory blood pressure (AmBP) has seldom included women, and available results are equivocal. Moreover, the concurrent effects of occupational status and job characteristics have rarely been investigated. Some research is consistent with the idea that stressful job characteristics are especially detrimental to health in low-status workers, creating a cumulative physiological burden.


To examine the independent and joint effects of occupational status and perceived demands, control, and social support at work on AmBP and heart rate (HR) in women.


One hundred eight women (M age = 41.07 years) wore an AmBP monitor for 2 days and completed a self-report assessment of job control, demands, and support (i.e., Karesek et al.'s Job Content Questionnaire).


After controlling for numerous potential confounds, occupational status and job characteristics accounted for 18% and 22% of the inter-individual variability in ambulatory systolic blood pressure (SBP) and HR, respectively. Occupational status independently predicted ambulatory cardiovascular activity and interacted with job characteristics, particularly in relation to SBP.


Inasmuch as ambulatory SBP and HR predict future cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, women with both lower status occupations and stressful job circumstances could be at disproportionately high cardiovascular risk.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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