The present review deals with the relationship between occupational psychosocial factors and the incidence of ischemic heart disease (IHD) with special regard to the statistical power of the findings. This review with 4 inclusion criteria is an update of a 2009 review of which the first 3 criteria were included in the original review: (1) STUDY: a prospective or case-control study if exposure was not self-reported (prognostic studies excluded); (2) OUTCOME: definite IHD determined externally; (3) EXPOSURE: psychosocial factors at work (excluding shift work, trauma, violence or accidents, and social capital); and (4) Statistical power: acceptable to detect a 20% increased risk in IHD. Eleven new papers met the inclusion criteria 1-3; a total of 44 papers were evaluated regarding inclusion criteria 4. Of 169 statistical analyses, only 10 analyses in 2 papers had acceptable statistical power. The results of the 2 papers pointed in the same direction, namely that only the control dimension of job strain explained the excess risk for myocardial infarction for job strain. The large number of underpowered studies and the focus on psychosocial models, such as the job strain models, make it difficult to determine to what extent psychosocial factors at work are risk factors of IHD. There is a need for considering statistical power when planning studies.
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Cardiology in Review