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Cardiovascular Disease in Korean Blue-Collar Workers: Actual Risk, Risk Perception, and Risk Reduction Behavior


Background: Blue-collar workers are at high risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) due to shift and overtime work, and job stress. Despite the increased risk of CVD and the rising compensation for it in Korean blue- collar workers, little is known about the actual risk of CVD, risk perception, and risk reduction behavior in this group. The purpose of this study was to investigate the contribution of actual and perceived risks of CVD and individual, psychosocial, and work-related factors as predictors of CVD risk reduction behavior.

Methods: This is a cross-sectional study with a sample of 238 Korean blue-collar workers, aged 18 years or older, who worked in small companies. Data collection included the Health Promoting Lifestyle Profile II, Knowledge of CVD risk, Risk Perception Index, Family APGAR, Job Contents Questionnaire, and Effort-Reward Imbalance; anthropometric and blood pressure measures; and blood sampling for lipid levels and glucose.

Findings: A multiple regression model showed that individual, psychosocial, and work-related factors, with risk perception for CVD, explained 33% of the variance in actual risk of CVD and that those individual, psychosocial, and work-related factors, with CVD actual risk, explained 28 % of the total variance in CVD risk perception. Waist-hip-ratio was found to be the strongest predictor of CVD actual risk. Finally, multiple regression analyses showed that the model explained 30% of the variance in risk reduction behavior. The significant predictors of risk reduction behavior included higher education, better perceived general health, greater family function, higher social support, better job control, and non-shift work. Actual risk of CVD and risk perception did not predict risk reduction behavior.

Conclusions: CVD risk reduction behavior is influenced more by psychosocial and work-related factors than individual factors. Efforts to improve social support, job control, and shift work are important; enhancing workers' perceived general health and family function are also important strategies for cardiovascular health promotion. Further study is needed to support these results and to explain the lack of relationships of actual and perceived risk to risk reduction behaviors in blue-collar workers at elevated risk of CVD.

Word count: 340

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