The association between psychosocial stress and coronary heart disease (CHD) may be stronger in women than men and may differ across types of stressors. In this study, we assessed associations of psychosocial stressors, including job strain, stressful life events, and social strain with the incidence of CHD in women.
Methods and Results
We used longitudinal data from 80 825 WHI‐OS (Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study) participants with a mean age of 63.4 years (7.3 years) at baseline. Job strain was assessed through linkage of Standard Occupational Classification codes to the Occupational Information Network. Stressful life events and social strain were assessed via validated self‐reported questionnaires. Cox proportional hazard models were used to evaluate associations of each stressor with CHD separately and jointly. A total of 3841 (4.8%) women developed CHD during an average of 14.7 years of follow‐up. After adjustment for age, other stressors, job tenure, and socioeconomic factors, high stressful life events score was associated with a 12% increased CHD risk, and high social strain was associated with a 9% increased CHD risk. Job strain was not independently associated with CHD risk, but we observed a statistically significant interaction between job strain and social strain (P=0.04), such that among women with high social strain, passive job strain was associated with a 21% increased CHD risk.
High stressful life events and social strain were each associated with higher CHD risk. Job strain and social strain work synergistically to increase CHD risk