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Job strain and resting heart rate: a cross-sectional study in a Swedish random working sample

Journal article
Authors Peter Eriksson
Linus Schiöler
Mia Söderberg
Annika Rosengren
Kjell Torén
Published in BMC Public Health
Volume 16
Pages article number: 228
ISSN 1471-2458
Publication year 2016
Published at Institute of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine
Institute of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Section of Occupational and environmental medicine
Institute of Medicine, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine
Pages article number: 228
Language en
Subject categories Occupational medicine


Abstract Background: Numerous studies have reported an association between stressing work conditions and cardiovascular disease. However, more evidence is needed, and the etiological mechanisms are unknown. Elevated resting heart rate has emerged as a possible risk factor for cardiovascular disease, but little is known about the relation to work-related stress. This study therefore investigated the association between job strain, job control, and job demands and resting heart rate. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey of randomly selected men and women in Västra Götalandsregionen, Sweden (West county of Sweden) ( n = 1552). Information about job strain, job demands, job control, heart rate and covariates was collected during the period 2001 – 2004 as part of the INTERGENE/ADONIX research project. Six different linear regression models were used with adjustments for gender, age, BMI, smoking, education, and physical activity in the fully adjusted model. Job strain was operationalized as the log-transformed ratio of job demands over job control in the statistical analyses. Results: No associations were seen between resting heart rate and job demands. Job strain was associated with elevated resting heart rate in the unadjusted model (linear regression coefficient 1.26, 95 % CI 0.14 to 2.38), but not in any of the extended models. Low job control was associated with elevated resting heart rate after adjustments for gender, age, BMI, and smoking (linear regression coefficient − 0.18, 95 % CI − 0.30 to − 0.02). However, there were no significant associations in the fully adjusted model. Conclusions: Low job control and job strain, but not job demands, were associated with elevated resting heart rate. However, the observed associations were modest and may be explained by confounding effects. Keywords: Work-related stress, Job strain, Job demands, Job control, Resting heart rate

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