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According to the results of a study presented at the 2005 American Heart Association's High Blood Pressure Research meeting, a supportive spouse might help lower the negative impact job stress can have on a person's blood pressure (BP). Researchers reported the findings of a study that followed 216 men and women, aged 40 to 65 years, over the course of a year. At baseline, 34% of patients had a BP of 130/80 mm Hg or higher. None were receiving any type of BP treatment.
The results of the study showed that job strain had a significant impact on BP, both clinically and statistically, according to lead author Sheldon Tobe, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Job strain and low marital cohesion (lack of emotional spousal support) were related to an increase in systolic BP of 2.8 mm Hg over 1 year. High marital cohesion along with job strain was related to a decrease in systolic BP of 2.5 mm Hg in the same time frame. Dr. Tobe suggests that people who experience job strain and/or low marital cohesion should have their BP checked.