Job Strain, Workplace Discrimination, and Hypertension Among Older Workers: The Health and Retirement Study

Briana Mezuk*, Kiarri N. Kershaw, Darrell Hudson, Kyuang Ah Lim, Scott Ratliff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Job strain has been associated with hypertension among younger workers; however, whether this relationship persists among older workers, particularly older racial/ethnic minorities, is unresolved. This study evaluated whether job strain and workplace discrimination are associated with hypertension and poor blood pressure control among older workers and whether these relationships vary by gender and race/ethnicity. Data were drawn from the Health and Retirement Study, and analysis was restricted to employed participants with complete information on job strain and blood pressure (N = 3,794). In adjusted models, high job strain was associated with lower likelihood of hypertension (odds ratio (OR): 0. 75, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0. 63, 0. 89) relative to low job strain. Stratified analyses indicated this association was only significant among white (OR: 0. 71, 95% CI: 0. 58, 0. 86) and male (OR: 0. 61, 95% CI: 0. 47, 0. 79) workers. High job strain was not significantly associated with hypertension among African American (OR: 1. 14, 95% CI: 0. 63, 2. 07) or Hispanic (OR: 0. 56, 95% CI: 0. 29, 1. 09) workers. Workplace discrimination was not associated with hypertension among any group. Neither job strain nor discrimination was associated with poor blood pressure control. These findings suggest that persistence in work characterized by high job strain in later life may signal resilience to the influence of work-related stressors on health. Future research efforts should examine the factors that contribute to gender and racial differences in these relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-50
Number of pages13
JournalRace and Social Problems
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2011


  • Aging
  • Discrimination
  • Hypertension
  • Job strain
  • Occupational health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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