High stress jobs are associated with a higher risk of stroke, according to a meta-analysis published October 14 online ahead of print in Neurology. 


Researchers reviewed six studies with a total of nearly 140,000 participants who were followed for 3 to 17 years. Jobs were classified into 4 groups based on worker control over daily tasks and how hard they worked, as well as on the psychological demands of the job: passive jobs, low stress jobs, high stress jobs, and active jobs. Across all six studies, total participants with high stress jobs ranged from 11% to 27%. 


Participants with high stress jobs had a 22% higher risk of stroke, compared with those with low stress jobs; women with high stress jobs had a 33% higher stroke risk. All participants with high stress jobs were 58% more likely to have an ischemic stroke. Participants with either passive or active jobs had no increased risk of stroke. 


In an editorial, Jennifer J. Majersik, MD, MS, recommended interventions aimed at increasing job control and flexibility in job structure, such as telecommuting.