Chronic work stress is associated with atherogenic lipids and elevated fibrinogen in middle-aged men

J Intern Med. 1997 Aug;242(2):149-56. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2796.1997.00167.x.


Objectives: To examine the association between a model of chronic work stress (high efforts in combination with low rewards) and two risk factors of coronary heart disease, low-density-lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol and fibrinogen.

Design: A cross-sectional study in a group of 179 healthy middle-aged (48.5 +/- 4.5) male middle managers.

Setting: A large car-producing enterprise in Germany.

Results: After adjustment for relevant covariates, logistic regression analysis showed independent effects of a composite measure of high effort and low reward at work on the prevalence of elevated (upper tertile, i.e. > or = 160 mg dL-1) LDL-cholesterol (prevalence odds ratio (POR) = 3.57; 95% confidence intervals (CI): 1.24-10.20) and on elevated (upper quintile, i.e. > or = 420 mg dL-1) plasma fibrinogen (POR = 6.71 (CI: 1.57-28.76). Apart from this core measure, cigarette smoking, overweight and alcohol consumption were the covariates with the relatively strongest contributions to the multivariate model.

Conclusions: Results give preliminary evidence on an independent association of chronic work stress with atherogenic lipids and with elevated fibrinogen in an occupationally homogeneous group of healthy middle-aged men.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood*
  • Coronary Disease / blood
  • Coronary Disease / etiology*
  • Coronary Disease / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Employment*
  • Fibrinogen / metabolism*
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / complications*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Fibrinogen