Psychosocial stressors such as job strain and marital stress have been associated with a sustained increase in blood pressure (BP).
We evaluated whether job strain and marital cohesion were associated with ambulatory BP in workers with normal or untreated elevated BP using baseline data from the Double Exposure study. The study population included 248 male and female volunteers who were nonmedicated, employed, and living with a significant other, all for a minimum of 6 months. Blood pressure was measured with an ambulatory BP monitor and participants completed a diary that recorded time during work, spousal contact, and sleep. Job strain and marital cohesion were calculated from the Job Content Questionnaire and the Dyadic Adjustment Scale, respectively.
Of the subjects, 54.4% were female with a mean age of 50.8 years (6.6, SD). In all, 21.3% reported job strain. Significant assocations were found between 24-h systolic BP (SBP) and alcohol consumption (P = .033), job strain (P = .007), male gender (P = .004), and age (P = .039) and was inversely associated with exercise (P = .037). An interaction between 24-h SBP, job strain, and marital cohesion was found such that greater marital cohesion was associated with lower SBP in subjects with job strain.
Psychosocial factors may influence the development of early hypertension. This should be clarified by the cohort phase of the Double Exposure study.
Comment In: Am J Hypertens. 2005 Aug;18(8):113816109334