The aim of this study is to follow-up on previous research indicating that the sex composition of workplaces is related to a number of health outcomes, including sickness absenteeism and mortality. We test two hypotheses. The first is Kanter's theory of tokenism, which suggests that minority group members suffer from an increased risk of stress. Secondly, we test the hypothesis that workplaces with a higher proportion of men will have a higher incidence rate of ischaemic heart disease (IHD), as men are more likely to engage in negative health behaviours, and through peer effects this will result in a workplace culture that is detrimental to health over the long term.
Large-scale, longitudinal Swedish administrative register data are used to study the risk of overnight hospitalization for IHD amongst 67,763 men over the period 1990 to 2001. Discrete-time survival analyses were estimated in the form of logistic regression models.
Men have an elevated risk of suffering from IHD in non-gender-balanced workplaces, but this association was only statistically significant in workplaces with 61-80% and 81-100% males. However, after adjusting for occupation no clear pattern of association could be discerned. No pattern of association was observed for women.
This study suggests that the gender composition of workplaces is not strongly associated with the risk of suffering from IHD.