The effect of control at home on CHD events in the Whitehall II study: Gender differences in psychosocial domestic pathways to social inequalities in CHD

Soc Sci Med. 2004 Apr;58(8):1501-9. doi: 10.1016/S0277-9536(03)00352-6.


Although there has been considerable research on psychosocial working conditions and their effect on physical and mental health, there has been little research into the effects of psychosocial domestic conditions on health. The association between psychosocial working conditions (and control at work in particular) and coronary heart disease (CHD) is not as strong for women compared to men. Other research suggests that household and domestic factors may have an important effect on women's health. Some studies have shown that low control at home affects psychological well being. However, there has been little research into its effects on physical health. Furthermore, similar to results analysing low control at work, low control at home may form part of the pathways underlying social inequalities in health. The study investigates the meaning of control at home, the effect of control at home on incident CHD events and whether this explains some of the social inequalities in CHD events in men and women. Data from phases 3-5 of the Whitehall II study, London, UK, were analysed (N = 7470). The results indicate that low control at home predicts CHD among women but not among men. Furthermore, low control at home may explain part of the association between household social position and CHD among women. There is some evidence suggesting that low control at home among women results from a lack of material and psychological resources to cope with excessive household and family demands. Psychosocial domestic conditions may have a greater effect on the health of women compared with men.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Coronary Disease / epidemiology
  • Coronary Disease / psychology*
  • Family Characteristics*
  • Female
  • Government Agencies
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Power, Psychological
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology