Household responsibilities, income, and ambulatory blood pressure among working men and women.
OBJECTIVE: To test the hypothesis that a greater perceived responsibility for household tasks and a greater number of hours spent doing these tasks would be associated with elevated ambulatory systolic (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP). The connection between job characteristics and cardiovascular outcomes has been widely studied. However, less is known about links between household work characteristics and cardiovascular health. METHODS: A total of 113 employed unmedicated hypertensive men and women underwent 1 day of ambulatory blood pressure (ABP) monitoring. Participants provided information on 1) the number of hours spent doing; and 2) their degree of responsibility for seven household tasks (child care; pet care; caring for ill/elderly; household chores; house/car repair; yard work; finances). Associations between task hours and responsibility ratings in relation to SBP and DBP were estimated, using generalized estimating equations, with covariates age, race, gender, body mass index, location, and posture. Interactions with gender and socioeconomic position were assessed. RESULTS: A greater perceived responsibility for household tasks, but not the hours spent doing these tasks, was associated with higher ambulatory SBP (b (95% confidence interval [CI]), 0.93 (0.29-1.56), p = .004) and DBP (b (95% CI), 0.30 (0.10-0.51), p = .003). Significant interactions with income indicated that associations between household responsibilities and ABP were most pronounced among low income participants (SBP: b (95% CI), 1.40 (0.58-2.21), p < .001; DBP: b (95% CI), 0.48 (0.18-0.78), p < .01). The task associated most strongly with BP was household chores. No interactions with gender were observed. CONCLUSIONS: Greater perceived responsibility for household tasks was associated with elevated ABP, particularly for lower income participants. Household obligations may have important implications for cardiovascular health, meriting further empirical attention.
Thurston, RC; Sherwood, A; Matthews, KA; Blumenthal, JA
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