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Job characteristics in relation to the prevalence of myocardial infarction in the US Health Examination Survey (HES) and the Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (HANES)


  • Karasek, R.A.
  • Theorell, T.
  • Schwartz, J.E.
  • Schnall, P.L.
  • Pieper, C.F.
  • Michela, J.L.


Assocations between psychosocial job characteristics and past myocardial infarction (MI) prevalence for employed males were tested with the Health Examination Survey (HES) 1960-61, N = 2,409, and the Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (HANES) 1971-75, N = 2,424. A new estimation method is used which imputes to census occupation codes, job characteristic information from national surveys of job characteristics (US Department of Labor, Quality of Employment Surveys). Controlling for age, we find that employed males with jobs which are simultaneously low in decision latitude and high in psychological work load (a multiplicative product term isolating 20 per cent of the population) have a higher prevalence of myocardial infarction in both data bases. In a logistic regression analysis, using job measures adjusted for demographic factors and controlling for age, race, education, systolic blood pressure, serum cholesterol, smoking (HANES only), and physical exertion, we find a low decision latitude/high psychological demand multiplicative product term associated with MI in both data bases. Additional multiple logistic regressions show that low decision latitude is associated with increased prevalence of MI in both the HES and the HANES. Psychological workload and physical exertion are significant only in the HANES.

Suggested Citation

  • Karasek, R.A. & Theorell, T. & Schwartz, J.E. & Schnall, P.L. & Pieper, C.F. & Michela, J.L., 1988. "Job characteristics in relation to the prevalence of myocardial infarction in the US Health Examination Survey (HES) and the Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (HANES)," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 78(8), pages 910-918.
  • Handle: RePEc:aph:ajpbhl:1988:78:8:910-918_2

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    Cited by:

    1. Cheng, Yawen & Chen, Chun-Wan & Chen, Chiou-Jong & Chiang, Tung-liang, 2005. "Job insecurity and its association with health among employees in the Taiwanese general population," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 41-52, July.
    2. Wolfe, Marcus T. & Patel, Pankaj C., 2017. "Two are better than one: Cortisol as a contingency in the association between epinephrine and self-employment," Journal of Business Venturing Insights, Elsevier, vol. 8(C), pages 78-86.
    3. Uwe JIRJAHN & Stephen C. SMITH, 2018. "Nonunion Employee Representation: Theory And The German Experience With Mandated Works Councils," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 89(1), pages 201-233, March.
    4. Joel Goh & Jeffrey Pfeffer & Stefanos A. Zenios, 2016. "The Relationship Between Workplace Stressors and Mortality and Health Costs in the United States," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 62(2), pages 608-628, February.
    5. Maitra, Sudeshna, 2010. "Can patient self-management explain the health gradient? Goldman and Smith's "Can patient self-management help explain the SES health gradient?" (2002) revisited," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 70(6), pages 802-812, March.
    6. Jason M. Fletcher & Jody L. Sindelar, 2009. "Estimating Causal Effects of Early Occupational Choice on Later Health: Evidence Using the PSID," NBER Working Papers 15256, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Norman Johnson & Paul Sorlie & Eric Backlund, 1999. "The impact of specific occupation on mortality in the U.S. National Longitudinal Mortality Study," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 36(3), pages 355-367, August.
    8. repec:bla:annpce:v:89:y:2018:i:1:p:201-233 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Bryson, Alex & Barth, Erling & Dale-Olsen, Harald, 2012. "Do higher wages come at a price?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 251-263.
    10. Peter Adams & Michael D. Hurd & Daniel L. McFadden & Angela Merrill & Tiago Ribeiro, 2004. "Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise? Tests for Direct Causal Paths between Health and Socioeconomic Status," NBER Chapters, in: Perspectives on the Economics of Aging, pages 415-526, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Jason M. Fletcher & Jody L. Sindelar & Shintaro Yamaguchi, 2011. "Cumulative effects of job characteristics on health," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(5), pages 553-570, May.
    12. Mark Hayward & Bridget Gorman, 2004. "The long arm of childhood: The influence of early-life social conditions on men’s mortality," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 41(1), pages 87-107, February.
    13. Glass, Thomas A. & McAtee, Matthew J., 2006. "Behavioral science at the crossroads in public health: Extending horizons, envisioning the future," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(7), pages 1650-1671, April.

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