HR Strange But True!
December 02, 2009

A recent study found a strong link between a worker's failure to confront a co-worker or boss about unfair treatment and the risk of a heart attack.

Published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the study looked at 2,755 men working in Sweden who had no history of myocardial infarction at the start of the 10-year period covered by the study. By the end of the 10-year period, however, 47 of the study participants had myocardial infarction or had died of heart disease.

The study found that workers whose frequent response to unfair treatment at work was covert coping--defined as not telling/showing the “aggressor” that he feels unfairly treated--had a 2.29 times higher risk of heart disease than those who didn't use that type of coping.

The authors of the study concluded that “covert coping is strongly related to increased risk of hard-end-point cardiovascular disease.”

As the Wall Street Journal notes, the researchers didn't examine how often the employees experienced unfair treatment and didn't have enough data to see if there was a similar link among women.

Sources: Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health and Wall Street Journal

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