Posted on Dec 03, 2009, 6 a.m.
Men who routinely walk away from conflicts at work may raise their risks of heart attack and cardiac death.
“Covert coping,” a workplace behavior whereby an employee does not outwardly express that s/he feels unfairly treated, has been found in previous studies to be associated with cardiovascular risk factors. Constanze Leineweber, from Stockholm University (Sweden), and colleagues investigated whether covert coping also predicts incident coronary heart disease. Studying 2,755 men with no history of myocardial infarction at the baseline screening (taking place 1992 to 1995), who worked in the Stockholm area, the researchers followed the subjects until 2003 for incidence of hospitalization due to myocardial infarction (MI), or death from ischemic heart disease. Of the 47 subjects who had MI or died from heart disease, and adjusting for confounding factors, the team found a dose-response relationship between covert coping and risk of incident myocardial infarction or cardiac death, such that men who frequently used covert coping had a 2.29 times higher risk than those who did not engage in the behavior. The researchers conclude that: “Covert coping is strongly related to increased risk of hard-end-point cardiovascular disease.”
Constanze Leineweber, Hugo Westerlund, Tores Theorell, Mika Kivimaki, Peter Westerholm, Lars Alfredsson. “Covert coping with unfair treatment at work and risk of incident myocardial infarction and cardiac death among men: Prospective cohort study J Epidemiol Community Health, 24 Nov. 2009; doi:10.1136/jech.2009.088880.