207529 Influence of occupational stress and satisfaction and workplace discrimination on hypertension status among older workers: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 11:20 AM

Kyung Ah Lim, MPH , Department of Epidemiology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Kiarri N. Kershaw, MPH , Department of Epidemiology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Darrell L. Hudson, MPH, PhD , Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Jane A. Rafferty, MA , Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor, MI
Brian Mezuk, PhD , Department of Epidemiology and Community Health, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
Background: Exposure to occupational stress has been associated with hypertension. However, it is unknown whether this relationship persists among older workers, particularly racial/ethnic minorities.

Objective: To examine the relationship between occupational stressors and hypertension status among working adults aged ≥ 50 years and to assess differential associations across racial/ethnic groups.

Methods: The sample includes currently-employed participants from the 2004/6 waves of the Health and Retirement Study, a nationally-representative sample of older US adults. Occupational stress and satisfaction were assessed via a modified version of Karasek's (1979) demand-control index. Workplace discrimination was measured using an index developed by Williams (1997). Hypertension was defined as systolic ≥ 140mmHg or diastolic blood pressure ≥ 70mmHg.

Results: Neither occupational stress nor satisfaction were significantly associated with hypertension among White workers. Among both African-American and Hispanics, low job stress was associated with lower odds of hypertension (OR: 0.38, 95% CI: 0.18, 0.82 and OR: 0.43, 95% CI: 0.20, 0.95, respectively). The combination of high stress/low satisfaction was significantly associated with hypertension only among African Americans (OR: 2.56, p=0.037). Although workplace discrimination was significantly correlated with job stress (p<0.001), discrimination was not associated with hypertension in any group.

Conclusions: Among older African American and Hispanic workers, occupational stress was significantly associated with hypertension, and this relationship was not accounted for by experiences of workplace discrimination. These findings suggest that work experiences in later life influence hypertension status among minority workers and may be a source of the persistence of health disparities over the life course.

Learning Objectives:
1. To evaluate the relationship between occupational stress and satisfaction and hypertension status among older workers 2. To assess whether the influence of occupational stress and satisfaction on hypertension status among older workers differs across racial/ethnic groups. 3. To determine whether there is relationship between job discrimination and hypertensive status among older workers.

Keywords: Occupational Health, Aging

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am key personnel on a research project funded by the Center for Integrative Approaches for Health Disparities at the University of Michigan and am in the process of finishing the MPH program here.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.