A Bad Boss Can Raise Risk for Heart Attacks


A new research just released is linking that having a poor supervisor might put people at a higher risk of heart attack. If that isn’t enough, the research shows that people who do not like their boss take more sick leaves.

These findings that came from surveys of thousands of employees in Europe doesn’t prove that bad bosses cause illness and heart problems, the report's author said, but the research does suggest that what happens at work doesn't stay at work, said Anna Nyberg, a postgraduate student at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and author of a thesis based on the results of the surveys.

"Our findings provide clear support for an association between managers' leadership and employee stress and health," she said. Nyberg looked at results of several studies that she took part in and found that male workers in Stockholm, Sweden, had a 25 percent higher risk of heart attack over the 10 years following the survey if they'd said their bosses were less than satisfactory. The heart attack rates went up the longer that the employees had to suffer with bosses they disliked.


Her discovery also showed that workers who complained about their bosses took more sick time. "The amount of sick days taken by employees in our study was associated with how the managers acted, regardless of the employees' general health status," Nyberg noted. This "indicates that employees may take sick leave as a means to cope with stress due to destructive leadership at work and perhaps to prevent their health from becoming affected."

Dr. Redford Williams, director of the Behavioral Medicine Research Center at Duke University in Durham, N.C., said stress at work such as a bad boss "arouses the body's fight/flight response, causing changes in stress hormones that increase blood pressure, inflammatory cytokines, blood glucose levels, even makes platelets stickier and more likely to clot." Over time, this can increase blockages in the arteries and lead to heart attacks and strokes, he said.

So if you work for a boss that makes you upset or causes you stress try to find someone you can talk to. Reduce your stress at work by reaching out to others, get counseling or work on stress reduction. Studies are beginning to focus on having a bad boss can raise the risk of heart attacks.

Written by Tyler Woods Ph.D.
Tucson, Arizona
Exclusive to eMaxHealth