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Organisational justice and markers of inflammation: the Whitehall II study

Abstract

Objectives Low organisational justice has been shown to be associated with increased risk of various health problems, but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. We tested whether organisational injustice contributes to chronic inflammation in a population of middle-aged men and women.

Methods This prospective cohort study uses data from 3205 men and 1204 women aged 35–55 years at entry into the Whitehall II study (phase 1, 1985–1988). Organisational justice perceptions were assessed at phase 1 and phase 2 (1989–1990) and circulating inflammatory markers C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin (IL)-6 at phase 3 (1991–1993) and phase 7 (2003–2004).

Results In men, low organisational justice was associated with increased CRP levels at both follow-ups (phase 3 and 7) and increased IL-6 at the second follow-up (phase 7). The long term (phase 7) associations were largely independent of covariates, such as age, employment grade, body mass index and depressive symptoms. In women, no relationship was found between organisational justice and CRP or IL-6.

Conclusions This study suggests that organisational injustice is associated with increased long-term levels of inflammatory markers among men.

  • Justice
  • CRP
  • inflammation
  • CHD
  • psychosocial factors
  • epidemiology, immunology
  • psychology
  • cardiovascular
  • stress
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