The ONE organ responsible for high blood pressure.
Unfair Boss in the Workplace Raise Blood Pressure
Having an unfair boss not only makes workers' blood boil, it may also cause dangerous spikes in their blood pressure. A new study shows that bosses who are considered unreasonable by their employees create additional workplace stress and could contribute to a higher risk of heart attack or stroke over the long term.
Researchers say workplace stress plays a significant role in public health but few studies have looked at the how the workplace affects overall heart health or cardiovascular risks.
In this study, published in the current issue of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, researchers asked 28 female health care assistants to rate the interpersonal style of their nurse supervisors based on whether they agreed or disagreed with a series of statements, such as "I am treated fairly by my supervisor," and "My supervisor encourages discussion before making a decision."Researchers then took the assistants' blood pressure readings every half hour for 12 hours over three working days. Thirteen of the assistants were supervised by two people who were perceived as having different interpersonal styles on alternating days. A comparison group of 15 worked with just one supervisor or two similarly perceived supervisors.
The study found that when assistants were working for a boss they considered unfair, they experienced a 15 mmHg rise in their systolic pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading) and a 7 mmHg increase in their diastolic (the bottom number) blood pressure compared to days when they worked for a boss they favored.
The comparison group registered just an average 3 mmHg rise in systolic blood pressure and no change in diastolic blood pressure.
Researchers say that among the group that faced bosses with different interpersonal styles, the more unfair and unreasonable the boss was perceived, the higher the blood pressure tended to be. In fact, this group had a small drop in blood pressure when working under a favored boss.
"Supervisors are in position of relative power within the working environment. Inadvertently, their interactional style may have the potential to influence their supervisees' well being, either positively or negatively," write researcher N. Wagner and colleagues at Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College, U.K.
Significant Impact on Health
Researchers say the findings show this additional workplace stress could have a significant impact on the risk of heart problems because an increase of 10 mmHg systolic and 5 mmHg diastolic blood pressure is associated with a 16% higher risk of heart disease and a 38% higher risk of stroke.
"The findings imply that creating a social milieu in the workplace characterized by fairness, empowerment, and consideration is likely to provide one inexpensive strategy for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disorders, particularly for employees in the lower strata of the organizational hierarchy," they conclude.