The relationship of work, self-care, and quality of life in a sample of older working adults with cardiovascular disease

Victoria Vaughan Dickson, Alexandra Howe, Joshua Deal, Margaret M. McCarthy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The study objective was to describe the self-care behaviors of adherence to medication, diet, exercise, and symptom monitoring of older workers with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and explore the relationship among job characteristics (job demands, job control, and workplace support), self-care, and quality of life. More than 3.5 million workers have CVD with significant work limitations and increased disability. Workers must meet the challenges of today's work processes that include increased stress and intense production demands while managing the complexities of their CVD. Methods: A total of 129 workers (aged ≥ 45 years) with CVD completed standardized instruments about self-care (Specific Adherence Scale α = .74), job characteristics (Job Content Questionnaire α = .71), and quality of life (MacNew health-related quality of life α = .84). Regression analyses were used to examine relationships between variables. Results: The sample had a mean age of 59.16 ± 8.83 years, 56.3% were female, and 36.5% were African-American. Self-care behaviors varied. Most workers (71.4%) reported medication adherence, and few adhered to diet (27%), exercise (18%), or symptom monitoring (31.3%). Psychologic job demands were negatively correlated to self-care (r = -217, P = .02). Better adherence was reported by those with workplace support (r = .313, P = .001). Job characteristics explained 22% of variance in self-care adherence behaviors. Adherence was a significant determinant of general quality of life. Conclusion: Because job characteristics may interfere with self-care, clinicians should assess job demands and discuss stress management with employed patients. Interventions that foster worksite programs and facilitate self-care among workers with CVD are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-14
Number of pages10
JournalHeart and Lung: Journal of Acute and Critical Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • Adherence
  • Aging workforce
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Job characteristics
  • Quality of life
  • Self-care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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