Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Indian Spice May Thwart Liver Damage
Meditation, Yoga Might Switch Off Stress Genes
Ginkgo No Shield Against Alzheimer's
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Safe Toys for Dogs
Beware of Dog Bites
Bone Loss Stable on Restricted Calorie Diet
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
Get in Step With Summer Foot Care
Minorities Distrust Medical System More
Vitamin E, Selenium and Soy Won't Prevent Prostate Cancer
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
Undoing the 'Big Baby' Trend
ER Less Likely to Diagnose Stroke in Younger Folks
Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
Lifestyle Factors Tied to Older Adults' Diabetes Risk
Older Diabetics With Depression Face Higher Death Rate
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
Low-Fat Diet Does Little to Alter Cholesterol Levels
The Best Diet? That Depends on You
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Warmer-Than-Average Temperatures Raise Migraine Risk
Household Chemicals May Affect Cholesterol Levels
Gas Cooking Might Up Your Cancer Risk
Eye Disease, Cognitive Decline Linked in Study
Diabetic Eye Disease Rates Soaring
Stem Cells Repair Damaged Corneas in Mice
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Walking Golf Course Affects Swing, Performance
Super Bowl Loss Can 'Kill' Some Fans
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Have Fun This Summer, But DO Be Careful
Laugh and the World Understands
Dr Churchill & Ashley Pelton Interview 1 of 4
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Fewer Heart Attacks After England Goes Smoke-Free
Irregular Heartbeat Tied to Alzheimer's Disease
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
Teen Stress May Have Roots in First Three Years of Life
Health Tip: Back Pain in Children
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Meditation, Yoga Might Switch Off Stress Genes
Fear Response May Stem From Protein in Brain
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Soy May Not Lead to Denser Breasts
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Most Women With Osteoporosis Unaware of Raised Fracture Risk
Add your Article

Can a Bad Boss Make You Sick?

(HealthDay News) -- If an inept or abrasive boss is ruining your workday, you may be taking that stress to heart, literally.

New research links having a poor supervisor to a higher risk of heart attack, and that's not all: people who don't like their managers also take more sick leave.

The findings, which come from surveys of thousands of employees in Europe, don't prove that bad bosses cause illness and heart problems, the report's author said. And the findings regarding heart attacks only look at men.

Still, 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 examined the results of several studies that she took part in. Among other things, she examined polls taken of almost 20,000 employees in Sweden, Finland, Germany, Poland and Italy.

Nyberg 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.

Also, 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."

The researchers behind the various studies included in Nyberg's report adjusted their statistics to take into account other possible factors, but the link between bosses and health remained intact.

What about women? There weren't enough heart-attack cases over the 10-year follow-up period for the researchers to consider how bosses affected female workers' heart health, Nyberg said. But the trends around sick leave applied to both genders, she said.

One expert thought the findings had merit.

Dr. Redford Williams, director of the Behavioral Medicine Research Center at Duke University in Durham, N.C., said stress at work -- such as that caused by a boss with poor leadership skills -- "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.

In general, Williams said, "it's still safe to conclude that poor leadership has the potential to adversely affect the health of the led. It's likely that there are differences in how sensitive different persons are to these effects, but still clear that poor leadership is bad for health."

SOURCES: Anna Nyberg, researcher, Karolinska Institute, Solna, Sweden; Redford Williams, M.D., director, Behavioral Medicine Research Center, professor, psychiatry and behavioral sciences, Duke University, Durham, N.C.; Thesis, Anna Nyberg, 2009