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Am J Epidemiol. 2005 Mar 1;161(5):434-41.

Perceived job stress and incidence of coronary events: 3-year follow-up of the Belgian Job Stress Project cohort.

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  • 1Department of Public Health, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.


Psychosocial characteristics have been linked to coronary heart disease. In the Belgian Job Stress Project (1994-1999), the authors examined the independent role of perceived job stress on the short-term incidence of clinical manifest coronary events in a large occupational cohort. A total of 14,337 middle-aged men completed the Job Content Questionnaire to determine the dimensions of the extended job strain model, job demands, decision latitude, and social support. Jobs were categorized into high strain, low strain, active jobs, and passive jobs. During the 3-year follow-up, 87 coronary events were registered. At baseline, 17% of workers experienced high strain. Job demands and decision latitude were not significantly related to the development of coronary heart disease after adjustment for covariates. The 38% risk excess among subjects classified in the high-strain category did not reach statistical significance. However, coronary heart disease incidence was substantially associated with the social support scale independently of other risk factors, with an adjusted hazard ratio of 2.4 (95% confidence interval: 1.4, 4.0) between extreme tertiles. No convincing evidence for an association of job demands, decision latitude, or job strain with the short-term incidence of coronary heart disease was found. However, our study underscores the importance of a supportive social work environment in the prevention of coronary heart disease.

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