U.K. Study: Office Stress Can Kill

January 24, 2008 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A study by a U.K. university researcher has found that employees under 50 who chronically stress out in the office face a heart attack risk that is 68% higher than that of employees who are relatively stress-free on the job.

According to news reports, University College London (UCL) researcher Sir Michael Marmot found in his study of 10,000 public employees that 32% of the effects of stress on coronary heart disease (CHD).grew out of eating badly and not getting enough exercise. According to the reports, the stress activates pathways controlled by the interaction between the nervous system, the endocrine glands, and their hormones.

Researchers collected evidence on the incidence of CHD, deaths from CHD, non-fatal heart attacks, angina, and heart rate variability. They also looked at increases in the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the morning, metabolic syndrome and factors such as diet, exercise, smoking, and drinking, the reports said.

The researchers measured stress among the civil servants by asking questions about their job demands such as how much control they had at work, how often they took breaks, and how pressed for time they were during the day.

The team conducted seven surveys over a 12-year period and found chronically stressed workers – people determined to be under severe pressure – in the first two of the surveys.