Objectives: We examined whether the distinctive components of job control-decision authority, skill discretion, and predictability-were related to subsequent acute myocardial infarction (MI) events in a large population of initially heart disease-free industrial employees.
Methods: We prospectively examined the relation between the components of job control and acute MI among private-sector industrial employees. During an 18-year follow-up, 56 fatal and 316 nonfatal events of acute MI were documented among 7663 employees with no recorded history of cardiovascular disease at baseline (i.e., 1986).
Results: After adjustment for demographics, psychological distress, prevalent medical conditions, lifestyle risk factors, and socioeconomic characteristics, low decision autonomy (P < .53) and skill discretion (P < .10) were not significantly related to subsequent acute MI. By contrast, low predictability at work was associated with elevated risk of acute MI (P = .02). This association was driven by the strong effect of predictability on acute MI among employees aged 45 to 54 years.
Conclusions: Prospective evidence suggests that low predictability at work is an important component of job control, increasing long-term risk of acute MI among middle-aged employees.