Stressed at work? Shout at your boss

Study reveals novel way of preventing a heart attack in the office (but glosses over its effect on your job prospects)

The old adage "Don't get mad, get even" may have to be rewritten as doctors have found that getting angry with your boss can be good for your heart.

People treated unfairly at work who suffer in silence have twice the risk of a heart attack or dying of heart disease compared with those who vent their anger, researchers have discovered.

The finding backs up research which has shown that "covert copers" – those who suffer in silence – have worse health than those who confront their tormentors. People who bottle things up show signs of high blood pressure and heart disease and are more likely to go off sick. The underlying mechanisms affecting health are unknown but doctors believe that anger, when unresolved, can be corrosive of health.

A person's coping strategy is largely a matter of personality but is also influenced by the circumstances in which they find themselves. Covert coping is often adopted by staff lower down the hierarchy who have less job control.

Swedish researchers from the University of Stockholm followed 2,755 male workers from the early 1990s to 2003. They took a range of measurements, including blood pressure, body mass index and cholesterol levels, and asked the men how they coped with unfair treatment or conflict at work.

They recorded whether the workers used avoidance tactics, such as walking away from a situation, and whether they suffered headaches or other physical symptoms.

There were 47 deaths from heart attack or heart disease in the group over the 10 years. After correcting for the degree of job strain the men were under, and biological factors, they found those who persistently bottled up their anger rather than expressing it openly were more than twice as likely to suffer from heart attacks or heart disease. The results are published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Women were included in the study and the results showed bottling things up was equally damaging for them. However, because of the low number of heart deaths among women, no conclusions could be drawn.

"Further research should examine whether interventions designed to reduce covert coping would alter the risk of myocardial infarction [heart attack] and death," the researchers said.

Constanze Leineweber, of the Stress Research Institute at Stockholm University, who led the study, said: "I would not advise shouting at the boss. That is not the best solution. But it is always better to say you feel unfairly treated and to find constructive solutions to it. We found an increase in risk among those who did not talk to the boss. There must be ways of reducing the risk."

She added: "Of course it would be best to have a work environment where there are no conflicts but that isn't always possible."

Temper, temper: Two famous conflicts

*In 2002, Ireland footballer Roy Keane gave an interview expressing unhappiness with his team's training facilities. When manager Mick McCarthy confronted him in front of the squad, he said: "Mick, you're a liar. I didn't rate you as a player, I don't rate you as a manager, and I don't rate you as a person. You're a fucking wanker and you can stick your World Cup up your arse."



*After his Bafta win for A Beautiful Mind, Russell Crowe read out a poem, which was edited out of the broadcast. Crowe allegedly cornered ceremony director Malcolm Gerrie and shouted: "I don't give a fuck who you are. Who on earth had the fucking audacity to take out the Best Actor's poem? You fucking piece of shit, I'll make sure you never work in Hollywood."

Sport
The sun rises over St Andrews golf course, but will it be a new dawn for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club?
sportAnd it's Yes to women (at the R&A)
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
footballToure's lack of defensive work is big problem for City
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Volunteer your expertise as Trustee for The Society of Experimental Biology

    Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Promising volunteer Trustee op...

    Email Designer

    £30000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

    Psychology Teacher

    £110 - £130 per hour: Randstad Education Reading: Psychology Teacher needed fo...

    Food Technology Teacher

    £85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are curren...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week