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Bullying boss makes blood boil

Bosses who are disliked for being unfair or unreasonable can stoke a massive rise in workers' blood pressure, raising the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

tech reviews Updated: Jul 09, 2003 16:20 IST

Bosses who are disliked for being unfair or unreasonable can stoke a massive rise in workers' blood pressure, a phenomenon that fuels the risk of a heart attack or stroke, a study revealed.

Scientists recruited 28 female nursing assistants in British hospitals and monitored their blood pressure every 30 minutes during their working day to see how it changed in the presence of their supervisor.

Thirteen of the 28 had two supervisors, who alternated during their working week -- one the workers liked, and the other they disliked.

The 15 others were a comparison group: they either had just one supervisor or had two, both of which were liked or disliked.

Those who had to alternate with Ms Nice and Ms Nasty had an astonishing difference in blood pressure, the researchers found.

They registered a 15mm Hg difference in their systolic blood pressure, and a seven mm Hg difference in diastolic pressure, when they had to work with a supervisor they considered overbearing.

But when they worked under someone they considered fair, they were more relaxed -- their blood pressure went down slightly.

Previous studies have found that increase of 10mm Hg in systolic and five mm Hg in diastolic blood pressure can lead to a 16 per cent increased risk of coronary heart disease and a 38 per cent increased risk of stroke.

A "fair" boss was considered someone who listened to problems, responded to suggestions, praised a job well done, showed trust and respect and was consistent and impartial.

First Published: Jul 08, 2003 00:00 IST