(AHA): When family demands affect work performance or work demands undermine family obligations, the resulting stress may contribute to decreased heart health, particularly among women.
Work‐family conflict is classically defined as “a form of inter‐role conflict in which the role pressures from the work and family domains are mutually incompatible in some respect.”
A new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, adds another factor for doctors and patients to evaluate in treating cardiovascular problems, said the studys senior author, Dr. Itamar Santos, a professor at the University of São Paulo and a researcher in the Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health. Santos and his colleagues studied more than 11,000 workers in Brazil between ages 35 and 74. The workers filled out questionnaires based on a model that measures the impact of work on family life, and vice versa. Their heart health was scored using questionnaires, clinical exams and laboratory results for health metrics, including smoking, body mass index, diet, physical activity, cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar level.
Although both genders were affected, the impact on women was greater. The study found lower cardiovascular health scores most evident in women who reported a variety of frequent work-family conflicts. According to Santos, “in our previous study, job stress alone affected men and women almost equally. But we found that for work-family conflict, women are more affected than men. This disparity might be explained, at least for some women, by the importance they place on family life.” (Excerpts from American Heart Association; Journal of the American Heart Association. 2019;8:e012701, Oct. 10, 2019)