Speaking up at Work Can Reduce Heart Attack Risk

November 25, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – Recent research suggests that men who suppress their frustrations about work situations may be at an increased risk of heart attack.

“Covert coping is strongly related to increased risk of hard-endpoint cardiovascular disease,” researchers wrote in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, according to a news report on RedOrbit.com.


Researchers at the Stress Research Unit at Stockholm University studied more than 2,700 male participants with an average age of 41 at the start of the study. None of the men had suffered a heart attack when the study began in 1992, but by 2003, researchers noted that 47 participants had suffered a heart attack or died from heart disease.


Men were asked to describe their methods of dealing with conflict in the workplace with their bosses or fellow employees. The researchers said that men who openly dealt with their workplace conflicts by speaking up were less prone to heart attacks.


The study also found that those who bottled up their aggression about conflict by not saying anything, were more likely to develop headaches or stomach aches.

Another Swedish study, published a year ago, found a link between bad managerial behavior and heart disease among men (see Do You Have a “Killer” Boss? ).