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Title: Exploring the association between affective work-related rumination and cardiovascular risk factors
Author: Steiner, Sarah
ISNI:       0000 0004 8503 1868
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2019
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Previous research has suggested that cardiovascular disease risk factors can be influenced by work-related stress, eliciting both psychological and physiological responses. These stress responses, and their subsequent effect on cardiovascular disease risk may be prolonged by an inability to adequately unwind from work. This thesis aims to explore the association between work-related rumination, focussing on affective rumination, and three modifiable cardiovascular risk factors: diet, blood lipids and blood pressure. Four studies were conducted. In study 1, findings from a four-day food diary study showed that affective rumination was significantly associated with emotional eating. Additionally, high affective ruminators (N = 18) consumed significantly more sugar, saturated and monounsaturated fats during weekdays relative to low affective ruminators (N = 16). In study 2, results from a cross-sectional designed study revealed a significant positive association between affective rumination and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Moreover, high affective ruminators (N = 15) exhibited significantly higher levels of HDL cholesterol when compared to low affective ruminators (N = 14). Study 3 employed an explorative blood pressure diary design over four consecutive days (two workdays followed by two leisure days). Findings indicated significant negative associations between state affective rumination and systolic blood pressure and heart rate on workdays. There was no significant effect of trait rumination group (high [N = 32] vs. low [N = 30]) on blood pressure and heart rate. In study 4, results from a four-week randomised waitlist control study demonstrated that individuals assigned to the mindfulness meditation group (N = 28), reported significantly fewer somatic stress symptoms and higher levels of psychological detachment compared to controls (N = 33). Overall, findings propose that affective work-related rumination is associated with cardiovascular risk factors, namely diet, blood lipids and blood pressure. Mindfulness-based meditation provides an effective way to reduce somatic stress symptoms and improve psychological detachment.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: BP plc
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral