This site is intended for health professionals only

Poor management linked to heart disease risk

25 November 2008

Share this article

A new study has revealed that rates of serious heart disease among staff can be directly affected by their managers’ leadership skills.

The study of more than 3,000 men in Sweden looked at the subjects’ occupational health records together with data on hospital admissions and death from ischaemic heart disease. The men were also asked to rate the leadership style of their senior managers.

Over a 10-year period, the researchers recorded 74 cases of fatal and nonfatal heart attack or acute angina, or death from ischaemic heart disease. They found that the risk of a serious heart problem or death reduced proportionally the more competent the participants ranked their senior managers to be.

The study, published in the BMJ’s Occupational and Environmental Medicine, also found that poor leadership actually increased the risk of serious heart disease in employees.

The authors conclude that if a direct cause and effect is confirmed, then managers’ behaviour should be targeted in a bid to stave off serious heart disease among less senior employees.

They write: “One could speculate that a present and active manager, providing structure, information and support, counteracts destructive processes in work groups, thereby promoting regenerative rather than stress-related physiological processes in employees.”

Copyright © Press Association 2008

Occupational and Environmental Medicine