Heart Disease and Death Risks Increased By Working For An Incompetent Boss

Sep 2, 2009 by

Heart Disease and Death Risks Increased By Working For An Incompetent Boss

The role of stress and one’s working environment in the disease process cannot be understated or underestimated. Yet, little attention is often given to such factors in preventing as well as reversing health conditions.

Recent research has drawn an interesting link between one’s risk of heart disease (and death) and working for a poor boss. This connection is discussed in more detail in the following article.

Incompetent Bosses Raise Risk of Heart Disease and Related Death

by Reuben Chow

When someone says that his or her boss ‘will be the death of me’, her or she could mean it more than just figuratively. According to recent research conducted in Sweden, employees’ risk of getting angina, heart attack and even death were higher when they felt that their bosses were incompetent.

Details of Study

Published online in Occupational and Environmental Medicine in Nov 2008, the study team used data on over 3,100 Swedish men who were part of the Work, Lipids, and Fibrinogen Stockholm study. The men were aged 19 to 70 and the researchers checked their hearts while they were at work between 1992 and 1995. This information was then tallied with hospital records for occurrences of heart issues and death till 2003.

Findings of Study

From the 74 cases of heart attack, angina or death from heart disease which took place during the follow-up period, the study team found that, the more competent men felt their bosses were, the lower their risk of getting heart disease. On the flip side, men who felt that their bosses were incompetent had higher risk of developing heart disease. Significantly, the risk got higher the longer someone worked for such a boss.

“This study is the first to provide evidence of a prospective, dose-response relationship between concrete managerial behaviors and objectively assessed heart disease among employees,” said Anna Nyberg from the Department of Public Health Sciences at the Karolinska Institute, and Stress Research Institute at Stockholm University, the leader of the study.

“Enhancing managers’ skills – regarding providing employees with information, support, power in relation to responsibilities, clarity in expectations, and feedback – could have important stress-reducing effects on employees and enhance the health at workplaces,” added Nyberg.

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