Objectives The role of occupation in the development of cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains a topic of research because few studies have examined longitudinal associations, and because occupation can be an indicator of socioeconomic position (SEP) and a proxy for hazard exposure. This study examines associations of occupational category as an SEP marker and selected occupational exposures with progression of the subclinical carotid artery disease.
Methods A community-based, multiethnic sample (n=3109, mean age=60.2) provided subclinical CVD measures at least twice at three data collection points (mean follow-up=9.4 years). After accounting for demographic characteristics, SEP, and traditional CVD risk factors, we modelled common carotid intima-media thickness, carotid plaque scores, and carotid plaque shadowing as a function of occupational category, physical hazard exposure, physical activity on the job, interpersonal stress, job control and job demands. These job characteristics were derived from the Occupational Resource Network (O*NET). Random coefficient models were used to account for repeated measures and time-varying covariates.
Results There were a few statistically significant associations at baseline. After all covariates were included in the model, men in management, office/sales, service and blue-collar jobs had 28–44% higher plaque scores than professionals at baseline (p=0.001). Physically hazardous jobs were positively associated with plaque scores among women (p=0.014). However, there were no significant longitudinal associations between any of the occupational characteristics and any of the subclinical CVD measures.
Conclusions There was little evidence that the occupational characteristics examined in this study accelerated the progression of subclinical CVD.
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