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High Job Strain and Ambulatory Blood Pressure in Middle-Aged Men and Women From the Belgian Job Stress Study

Clays, Els MSc; Leynen, Francoise MD; De Bacquer, Dirk PhD; Kornitzer, Marcel PhD; Kittel, France PhD; Karasek, Robert PhD; De Backer, Guy PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: April 2007 - Volume 49 - Issue 4 - p 360-367
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31803b94e2
Original Articles

Objective: The aim of this study was to assess whether job strain is associated with 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure measurements within a subsample of the Belgian Job Stress Project (BELSTRESS) population.

Methods: A group of 89 middle-aged male and female workers perceiving high job strain and an equally large group of workers perceiving no high job strain wore an ambulatory blood pressure monitor for 24 hours on a regular working day.

Results: Mean ambulatory blood pressure at work, at home, and while asleep was significantly higher in workers with job strain as compared with others. The associations between job strain and ambulatory blood pressure were independent from the covariates.

Conclusions: Within this study, high job strain was an important independent risk factor for higher ambulatory blood pressure at work, at home, and during sleep in a group of men and women.

From the Department of Public Health, Ghent University (Els Clays, Dr De Bacquer, Dr De Backer), University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium; Laboratory of Epidemiology and Health Promotion (Dr Leynen, Dr Kornitzer, Dr Kittel), School of Public Health, Free University of Brussels, Brussels, Belgium; and the Department of Work Environment (Dr Karasek), University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, Massachusetts.

CME Available for this Article at

This study was financially supported by the Belgian Federal Public Service Employment, Labor and Social Dialogue, and the European Social Fund.

Address correspondence to: Els Clays, MSc, Department of Public Health, Ghent University, University Hospital, Block A, De Pintelaan 185, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium; E-mail:

©2007The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine