Posted on Apr 02, 2013, 6 a.m.
The top 20% of burnt-out employees are at dramatically increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).
Job burnout — characterized by physical, cognitive, and emotional exhaustion that results from stress at work – has been shown by previous studies to associate with increased risks obesity, insomnia, and anxiety. Sharon Toker, from Tel Aviv University (Israel), and colleagues studied 8,838 apparently healthy employed men and women, ages 19 to 67 years, who presented for routine health examinations and were followed for an average of 3.4 years. Each participant was measured for burnout levels and examined for signs of coronary heart disease (CHD). During the follow-up period, 93 new cases of CHD were identified. Burnout was associated with a 40% increased risk of developing CHD. Notably, the 20% of participants with the highest burnout scores had a 79% increased risk. Reporting that: “Burnout is an independent risk factor for future incidence of [coronary heart disease],” the study investigators warn that: “Individuals with high levels of burnout (upper quintile) have a significantly higher risk of developing [coronary heart disease] compared with those with low levels of burnout.”
Sharon Toker, Samuel Melamed, Shlomo Berliner, David Zeltser, Itzhak Shapira. “Burnout and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease: A Prospective Study of 8838 Employees.” Psychosom Med., October 2012; 74:840-847.