PURPOSE: Although occupational factors have been associated with symptomatic ischemic heart disease, associations between job strain (low decision latitude and high psychological demands) and risk for subclinical atherosclerosis measured by coronary artery calcium (CAC) have not been assessed.
METHODS: CAC was measured in 3695 participants in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study in 2000 to 2001 and 2005 to 2006. Job characteristics measured by the demand-control model (psychological demands and decision latitude) were assessed in 1987 to 1988 and in 1995 to 1996. Associations between non-zero CAC and previous job characteristics and occupation were assessed, adjusting for potential covariates.
RESULTS: Low decision latitude, high psychological demands, and job strain at either earlier examination were not associated with a positive CAC, nor were changes in the status of these job characteristics between 1987/1988 and 1995/1996. However, participants whose jobs were classified as managerial or professional in 1995/1996 were less likely to have a positive CAC than those in laborer occupations.
CONCLUSIONS: Job strain measured at two earlier time points was not related to the presence of CAC at follow-up 5 to 18 years later. The association between earlier occupation and CAC may reflect socioeconomic differences or other occupational, industrial, or labor market characteristics.
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