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Is Job-Related Stress the Link Between Cardiovascular Disease and the Law Enforcement Profession?

Franke, Warren D. PhD; Kohut, Marian L. PhD; Russell, Daniel W. PhD; Yoo, Hye Lim MS; Ekkekakis, Panteleimon PhD; Ramey, Sandra P. PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: May 2010 - Volume 52 - Issue 5 - p 561-565
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181dd086b
Original Articles

Objective: To determine whether job-related stress is associated with alterations in pro- and anti-atherogenic inflammatory mediators among law enforcement officers.

Methods: Markers of vascular inflammation and the self-reported stress measures of perceived stress, vital exhaustion, job strain, effort-reward imbalance, and social support were compared between officers (N = 444) and non-officers (N = 166).

Results: Officers had higher levels of IL-1β, IL-6, IL-10, and TNF-α and lower levels of C-reactive protein and fibrinogen. No more than 4% of the variability in any of the inflammatory mediators was explained by any stress measure for either the two groups or the entire sample.

Conclusions: Law enforcement officers may be at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease due to a relatively greater pro-inflammatory vascular environment. However, this increased risk cannot be attributed to either chronic stress or the work-related stress measures assessed here.

From the Department of Kinesiology (Dr Franke, Dr Kohut, Ms Yoo, Dr Ekkekakis); Department of Human Development and Family Studies (Dr Russell), Institute for Social and Behavioral Research, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa; and College of Nursing (Dr Ramey), University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa.

Address correspondence to: Warren D. Franke, PhD, 247 Forker Building, Ames, IA 50011; E-mail:

©2010The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine