Author(s): Sunmin Leea, Graham Colditzb, Lisa Berkmana, Ichiro Kawachia
Background Previous studies of job strain and coronary heart disease (CHD) in men have established job strain as a predictor of CHD risk. Despite the wealth of convincing evidence in men for an association between job strain and CHD, data in women remain sparse. Methods We prospectively evaluated the relation between job strain and CHD risk in the Nurses’ Health Study. In this analysis, we followed a sample of 35 038 US female nurses aged 46–71 years, who completed questions about job strain in 1992 and who were free of diagnosed CHD, stroke, and cancer at baseline. The main outcome measure was the incidence of CHD occurring between baseline (1 June 1992) and 31 May 1996. Results During 4 years of follow-up, we documented 146 incident cases of CHD (108 non-fatal cases of myocardial infarction and 38 CHD deaths). No evidence was found for a relationship between job strain and risk of CHD. In multivariate analyses controlling for age, smoking, alcohol intake, body mass index, history of hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and other covariates, women in high strain jobs did not have an increased risk of CHD (relative risk [RR] = 0.71, 95% CI: 0.42–1.19) compared with women in low strain jobs. Neither women in passive jobs (RR = 1.08, 95% CI: 0.69–1.68) nor those in active jobs (RR = 0.91, 95% CI: 0.54–1.53) had an increased risk of CHD. Conclusions Job strain was not related to an increase in the incidence of CHD in the present cohort of nurses.