He said, she said: Work, biopsychosocial, and lifestyle contributions to coronary heart disease risk

  • Ferris P
  • Kline T
  • Bourdage J
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OBJECTIVE: To test a model incorporating job characteristics, biopsychosocial, lifestyle, and nonmodifiable factors as they relate to coronary heart disease (CHD). Specifically, job characteristics and nonwork social ties (NWST) were examined as predictors of biopsychosocial health (BPSH), which was, in turn, expected to predict CHD directly and indirectly through influencing lifestyle. We also examined how age and family history of premature heart disease predicted objectively measured CHD risk. Within this model, sex differences were explored.

METHOD: A structural equation modeling analysis of data from a cross-sectional sample of 541 employees (317 men and 224 women) taking part in a cross-organization workplace wellness program. T tests of sex differences were also conducted.

RESULTS: Positive perceptions of job characteristics and NWST predicted positive BPSH. BPSH displayed no direct relationship to CHD risk, but positively predicted a healthier lifestyle. A healthier lifestyle was related to lower levels of CHD risk. Family history, but not age, was also useful in predicting CHD risk. Analyses indicated that men were significantly worse on all objective measures of CHD risk factors, but no other main effect sex differences were found. There were no differences between men and women in the relationships between variables.

CONCLUSIONS: Adds to a body of literature indicating the importance of psychological components of the job in determining biopsychosocial health, and the importance of this variable in its impact on lifestyle decisions. The results support continued efforts to guide future interventions on lifestyle for both men and women.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Gender
  • Heart disease
  • Workplace stress

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