Bosses less likely to suffer heart attack: Study

London: Being a boss could actually protect you against a heart attack rather than cause one!

People in most powerful positions are likely to suffer less stress as being in charge offers them a heightened sense of control, a new Harvard study has found.

The study upheld the earlier research that showed being bossed around at work increases the risk of a heart attack by 23 per cent.

Researchers tested the popular idea that leadership engenders greater stress, the `Daily Mail` reported.

Almost 150 bosses recruited by Harvard University researchers had less of the stress hormone cortisol in their saliva than 65 non-leaders.

They also suffered less anxiety according to the results of self-reported questionnaires given to the participants who came from various professions and an executive education programme for senior government and military officials.

A second study of the leaders then found that people holding in the most powerful positions had lower cortisol levels and anxiety reports than those whose posts were less influential.

The researchers said being a boss is often regarded as highly stressful, however, the findings which held true for all ages, gender and ethnic backgrounds suggest leadership levels might be inversely tied to stress.

"As people ascend to positions of leadership demands increase dramatically, but the number of hours in the day does not increase," Professor Jennifer Lerner said.

"Because stress results when demands exceed resources leadership is often viewed as highly stressful. Not surprisingly social scientists and practitioners have proposed and developed scores of tools to help leaders manage their stress and leader stress management has become a vibrant industry," she said.

Lerner said, in the two studies her researchers found clear evidence leadership is associated with lower levels of stress.

The study findings are published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.