Objective: To examine the effects of unfairness on incident coronary events and health functioning. Design: Prospective cohort study. Unfairness, sociodemographics, established coronary risk factors (high serum cholesterol, hypertension, obesity, exercise, smoking and alcohol consumption) and other psychosocial work characteristics (job strain, effort-reward imbalance and organisational justice) were measured at baseline. Associations between unfairness and incident coronary events and health functioning were determined over an average follow-up of 10.9 years. Participants: 5726 men and 2572 women from 20 civil service departments in London (the Whitehall II Study). Main outcome measures: Incident fatal coronary heart disease, non-fatal myocardial infarction and angina (528 events) and health functioning. Results: Low employment grade is strongly associated with unfairness. Participants reporting higher levels of unfairness are more likely to experience an incident coronary event (HR 1.55, 95% CI 1.11 to 2.17), after adjustment for age, gender, employment grade, established coronary risk factors and other work-related psychosocial characteristics. Unfairness is also associated with poor physical (OR 1.46, 95% CI 1.20 to 1.77) and mental (OR 1.54, 95% CI 1.19 to 1.99) functioning at follow-up, controlling for all other factors and health functioning at baseline. Conclusions: Unfairness is an independent predictor of increased coronary events and impaired health functioning. Further research is needed to disentangle the effects of unfairness from other psychosocial constructs and to investigate the societal, relational and biological mechanisms that may underlie its associations with health and heart disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health