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Stifled Anger at Work Doubles Men's Risk for Heart Attack
Date:11/23/2009

More open on-the-job interaction might ease the problem, researchers say

MONDAY, Nov. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Men who bottle up their anger over unfair treatment at work could be hurting their hearts, a new Swedish study indicates.

Men who consistently failed to express their resentment over conflicts with a fellow worker or supervisor were more than twice as likely to have a heart attack or die of heart disease as those who vented their anger, claims a report in the Nov. 24 online edition of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

In fact, ignoring an ongoing work-related conflict was associated with a tripled risk of heart attack or coronary death, the study of almost 2,800 Swedish working men found.

"It is not good just to walk away after having such a conflict or to swallow one's feelings," said study co-author Constanze Leineweber, a psychologist at Stockholm University's Stress Research Institute.

The study did not specify good ways of coping with work-related stress -- "We just looked at the bad side of coping," Leineweber explained.

The study doesn't advocate being belligerent at work, Leineweber cautioned. "Shouting out, and so on, is not proper coping," she said.

But venting one's anger outside of the workplace didn't seem to take a cardiovascular toll, at least. "Getting into a bad temper at home" was not associated with an increased risk of heart attack or cardiac death, the study authors found.

The findings echo those from a study published last year in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine. That study, also from Sweden and involving more than 3,100 men, found that having an overbearing or incompetent boss boosted workers' odds for angina, heart attack and death.

Leineweber stressed that what is true for men might not be true for female workers. While the study included more than 2,000 women, too few of them h
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