Bad bosses bad for heart

By HSC Staff Writer • Published: February 20th, 2006
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

If you feel like your boss won’t get off your back, he or she might be wearing down your heart.

Employees who think there’s no justice in the workplace have a thirty percent higher risk of coronary artery disease than employees who believe they are treated fairly.

So say Finnish and British researchers, who studied the heart health of nearly six-thousand-five-hundred men who worked for the British government.

Stress, negative emotions and sick leave increased when workers believed their bosses ignored their input, treated them unfairly or didn’t involve them in decision-making.

In previous studies, employees with two bosses had lower blood pressure on days when the more reasonable boss was in charge.

Study participants completed questionnaires asking about the fairness of the workplace. They were asked things like “How often is your superior willing to listen to your problems?”

Employees who reported a high level of just treatment had a significantly lower risk of heart disease than those who felt they were treated unfairly or experienced only moderately fair working conditions.

The well-treated employees’ chance for heart disease didn’t change significantly, even when other health indicators were factored in. Researchers considered cholesterol levels, body mass index, high blood pressure, smoking status and exercise levels.

So is your work uplifting, or more of the proverbial daily grind? Before you take the findings to heart, don’t assume the workplace is taking a toll on your ticker. Your doctor can best help you evaluate if a stressful situation is cause for concern.