An increase in cardiac workload, ultimately resulting in hypertrophy, generates oxidative stress and therefore requires the activation of both survival and growth signal pathways. Here, we wanted to characterize the regulators, targets and mechanistic roles of miR-142, a microRNA (miRNA) negatively regulated during hypertrophy. We show that both miRNA-142-3p and -5p are repressed by serum-derived growth factors in cultured cardiac myocytes, in models of cardiac hypertrophy in vivo and in human cardiomyopathic hearts. Levels of miR-142 are inversely related to levels of acetyltransferase p300 and MAPK activity. When present, miR-142 inhibits both survival and growth pathways by directly targeting nodal regulators p300 and gp130. MiR-142 also potently represses multiple components of the NF-κB pathway, preventing cytokine-mediated NO production and blocks translation of α-actinin. Forced expression of miR-142 during hypertrophic growth induced extensive apoptosis and cardiac dysfunction; conversely, loss of miR-142 fully rescued cardiac function in a murine heart failure model. Downregulation of miR-142 is required to enable cytokine-mediated survival signalling during cardiac growth in response to haemodynamic stress and is a critical element of adaptive hypertrophy.