Suppressing anger may cause heart problems; exercise may cut stroke risk in men
Suppressing anger at work may not be heart-healthy.
THE QUESTION When people think they're treated unfairly at work, does the way they deal with their anger affect the health of their heart?
THIS STUDY involved 2,755 male employees, 41 years old on average, who never had suffered a heart attack. About a fourth of them were supervisors. In the next 10 years, 47 had a heart attack or died of heart disease. Men who used avoidance tactics to deal with conflict or unfair treatment at work -- including walking away from the situation or letting things pass without saying anything -- were twice as likely to have had a heart attack or died of heart disease as were men who openly expressed their anger. Risk was highest for those who walked away.
WHO MAY BE AFFECTED? Men who experience job-related stress or anger. Some studies have linked emotionally upsetting events, especially those involving anger, with heart problems.
CAVEATS Behavioral data came from the men's responses on a questionnaire. The study did not suggest what might be healthier coping strategies.
FIND THIS STUDY Nov. 24 online issue of the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.