Non-traditional roles may boost risk of heart disease and death

HONOLULU, April 24 Househusbands and others whose work or social roles are outside the norm suffer more coronary heart disease and death from all causes, according to a new study presented today at the American Heart Associations Asia Pacific Scientific Forum.

The study was conducted to determine if occupational stress/strain is related to heart attack and death. Researchers did not find any evidence that job/occupational strain (defined as high job demands combined with low job control) is associated with death or coronary heart disease but they did find a link between heart disease and jobs/social roles that are non-traditional.

These findings may indicate that people who perform work or social roles incongruent with what is socially expected suffer greater heart disease and death. Perhaps those men and women on the cutting edge of social norms experience negative health consequences, says Elaine D. Eaker, Sc.D., of Eaker Epidemiology Enterprises, LLC, in Chili, Wis., the principal investigator on this ancillary study from the Framingham Offspring Study.

According to Eaker, previous research shows that occupational strain might be related to the development of heart disease. So they included an assessment of occupational characteristics, including job strain, in the Framingham Offspring Study surveys.

The Framingham Offspring Study includes individuals who are descendents of participants in the federal governments Framingham Heart Study begun in 1948, which follows a representative sample of 5,209 adult residents and their offspring in Framingham, Mass. Participants included 1,769 men and 1,913 women, ages 18 to 77 years, who completed psychological surveys during the third examination of the Framingham Offspring Study and were followed for 10 years for incidence of coronary heart disease and death.

Researchers used the Karaseks Job Demand Control model to define occupational stress/strain. The model has been widely tested

Contact: Carole Bullock
American Heart Association

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