Objectives: This study examined the role of decision latitude and job strain in the etiology of a first myocardial infarction.
Methods: Eligible case patients were all full-time working men 45 to 64 years of age who suffered a first myocardial infarction during the period January 1992 to January 1993 in the greater Stockholm region. Referents were selected from the general population. Participation rates were 82% (case patients) and 75% (referents).
Results: Both inferred and self-reported low decision latitude were associated with increased risk of a first myocardial infarction, although this association was weakened after adjustment for social class. A decrease in inferred decision latitude during the 10 years preceding the myocardial infarction was associated with increased risk after all adjustments, including chest pain and social class. The combination of high self-reported demands and low self-reported decision latitude was an independent predictor of risk after all adjustments.
Conclusions: Both negative change in inferred decision latitude and self-reported job strain are important risk indicators in men less than 55 years of age and in blue-collar workers.