Feature

Health scare of the week: The danger of keeping your cool

A study found that men who practiced “covert” coping strategies at work were more likely to have suffered a heart attack than men who reacted “openly.”

If you find yourself in a showdown at work with a boss or a colleague, common sense suggests that you should bite your tongue and walk away. But that approach could kill you, new research suggests. Scientists in Sweden tracked the health of 2,700 middle-aged men for a decade, monitoring how they responded to conflicts in the office. The study found that the men who practiced “covert” coping strategies—ignoring unfair treatment and holding in their feelings—were two to five times more likely to have suffered a heart attack than the men who reacted “openly,” even if that involved yelling in the workplace. “It’s not good to go away and just leave the conflict if you feel you have been badly treated,” lead researcher Constanze Leineweber tells Bloomberg.com. “You have to act.” The study did not reveal the ideal way to respond: Men who screamed, protested immediately, or spoke up later all showed lower rates of heart complications.

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