Author(s): Karasek R
The association between specific job characteristics and subsequent cardiovascular disease was tested using a large random sample of the male working Swedish population. The prospective development of coronary heart disease (CHD) symptoms and signs was analyzed using a multivariate logistic regression technique. Additionally, a case-controlled study was used to analyze all cardiovascular-cerebrovascular (CHD-CVD) deaths during a six-year follow-up. The indicator of CHD symptoms and signs was validated in a six-year prospective study of CHD deaths (standardized mortality ratio 5.0; p less than or equal to .001). A hectic and psychologically demanding job increases the risk of developing CHD symptoms and signs (standardized odds ratio 1.29, p less than 0.25) and premature CHD-CVD death (relative risk 4.0, p less than .01). Low decision latitude-expressed as low intellectual discretion and low personal schedule freedom-is also associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Low intellectual discretion predicts the development of CHD symptoms and signs (SOR 1.44, p less than .01), while low personal schedule freedom among the majority of workers with the minimum statutory education increases the risk of CHD-CVD death (RR 6.6, p less than .0002). The associations exist after controlling for age, education, smoking, and overweight.