The effect of work on blood pressure (BP) in a general population with appropriate adjustment for confounders is not well defined. High job control has been found to be associated with lower BP and with nocturnal BP dipping. However, with older workers this may be compromised and has not been studied extensively.
A cross-sectional study was carried out on a primary care-based sample (N=2047) aged 50-69 years. Data were collected on sociodemographic factors, medication, clinic, and ambulatory blood pressure. Job control was measured using two scales from the Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire (COPSOQ) (possibility for development and influence at work). Nocturnal systolic BP (SBP) dipping was the reduction in SBP from day- to night-time using ambulatory SBP readings.
In general, BP increased with age, male gender, and higher body mass index. Workers with high influence at work and high possibility for development were more likely to have high asleep SBP [odds ratio (OR) 2.13, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.05-4.34, P=0.04], (OR 2.27, 95% CI 1.11-4.66, P=0.03) respectively. Influence at work and awake BP were inversely associated: awake SBP (OR 2.44, 95% CI 1.35-4.41, P<0.01), awake DBP (OR 2.42, 95% CI 1.24-4.72, P=0.01). No association was seen between job control and nocturnal SBP dipping.
Older workers with high job control may be more at risk of cardiovascular disease resulting from high day- and night-time BP with no evidence of nocturnal dipping.