The impact of social capital and job strain at the work place on the incidence of coronary heart disease

Tina Hannemann, Lund University

Among the employable share of the population the work place is a central life aspect, which has its specific impact on the individual’s health and well being. In this study social capital is defined after Bourdieu as personal asset, representing relationships or interactions with potential benefits. Social relationships among co-workers and people of different hierarchical order around the work environment have probably more than only an impact on work performance. We assume that the amount and type of social capital at the work place have direct impact of the general health status of the individual. This study is following the Karasek model of job strain groups to analyse the different influences on health. The Karasek model has been proven valid in other studies concerning job strain and various health outcomes. In a second step we will perform a survival analysis and investigate with help of Cox-proportional-hazard models the impact from job strain and social capital on incidence of coronary heart diseases. Using a sample (N = 13260) of the Malmö Diet and Cancer Study from Sweden we could verify various connections between social capital and health. The main findings are that mechanisms of job strain and social capital at the work place are working very different for men and women. While the Karasek model of job demand and control explains differences in health among men, we could not verify this connection for women in equal measure. On the other hand social capital differences seem to be more important for women than for men. Overall, medical and behavioural issues like smoking behaviour and BMI are still the main driving force behind coronary heart disease.

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Presented in Session 56: Education, mental health and well-being