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Keywords:

  • fairness;
  • health;
  • blood pressure;
  • coworker support

Abstract

By drawing from theoretical perspectives suggesting that unfair conditions threaten fundamental psychological needs, perceived unfairness at work was proposed and tested as a predictor of resting blood pressure. As part of the Midlife Development in the United States Biomarkers project, participants completed questionnaires measuring perceived unfairness, self-esteem and coworker support. Resting blood pressure readings were also recorded as part of a larger physical examination. Results indicate that perceived unfairness at work was associated with higher resting diastolic and systolic blood pressure. Perceived unfairness was most strongly related to diastolic and systolic blood pressure among women with low levels of coworker support. Contrary to predictions, self-esteem did not moderate the association between perceived unfairness and blood pressure. These results suggest that high blood pressure may be a mechanism linking unfairness to negative health outcomes and point to coworker support as a moderator of the perceived unfairness–blood pressure relationship among women. Further research is needed exploring the mediating mechanisms linking unfair treatment at work to blood pressure and health. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.