Effects of Work-Related and Personal Life Stress on Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Working Women
Wilson, Mark D
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The goal of this study is to describe the stability of several cardiovascular outcome measures, as well as psychosocial stress indices. Cardiovascular outcomes included heart rate variability parameters, blood pressure, and an index of cardiac contractility. The cardiovascular outcomes were measured non-invasively via physiological instruments. Psychosocial stress indices included both work-related and non-work-related stress assessments. Each stress index was assessed with a validated questionnaire. Study subjects completed a total of four study visits over a two month period of time. A panel study of employed females between the ages of 18 and 39 years of age, over the course of four study visits, was conducted. A questionnaire assessing psychosocial stress levels, followed by the recording of physiological measures. The study aims included: 1) Determination of the stability of various cardiovascular measures, 2) Determination of the stability of psychosocial stress questionnaires, 3) Description of the association between work-related and non-work-related psychosocial stress measures. Resting physiological measurements were determined to be very stable over the course of the four study visits. The measures of psychosocial stress were also determined to be stable across the four study visits. Further analysis of the work-related stress measures found them to be sensitive to the number of changes occurring in the workplace between study visits, with more changes corresponding to higher reported stress levels. Analysis of the work and non-work related stress measures revealed a significant association between the two forms of stress. The stability exhibited by the physiological measurements in this study was found to be consistent with previous work in this area. The stability of work and non-work related stress questionnaires is also in agreement with previous research. Knowledge of the stability of physiological and questionnaire data is essential for the design of longitudinal studies utilizing these methods.