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Psychosocial determinants of premature cardiovascular mortality differences within Hungary
  1. Maria Kopp1,
  2. Árpád Skrabski2,
  3. Zsuzsa Szántó1,
  4. Johannes Siegrist3
  1. 1Institute of Behavioural Sciences, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary
  2. 2Vilmos Apor Catholic College, Hungary
  3. 3Institut für Medizinische Soziologie, Düsseldorf, Germany
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor M Kopp
 Institute of Behavioural Sciences, Semmelweis University, H-1089 Budapest, Nagyvárad tér 4, Hungary; kopmar{at}


Objectives: The life expectancy gap between Central-Eastern European (CEE) countries, including Hungary, and Western Europe (WE) is mainly attributable to excess cardiovascular (CV) mortality in midlife. This study explores the contribution of socioeconomic, work related, psychosocial, and behavioural variables to explaining variations of middle aged male and female CV mortality across 150 sub-regions in Hungary.

Design: Cross sectional, ecological analyses.

Setting: 150 sub-regions of Hungary.

Participants and methods: 12 643 people were interviewed in Hungarostudy 2002 survey, representing the Hungarian population according to sex, age, and sub-regions. Independent variables were income, education, control in work, job insecurity, weekend working hours, social support, depression, hostility, anomie, smoking, body mass index, and alcohol misuse.

Main outcome measures: Gender specific standardised premature (45–64 years) total CV, ischaemic heart disease, and cerebrovascular mortality rates in 150 sub-regions of Hungary.

Results: Low education and income were the most important determinants of mid-aged CV mortality differences across sub-regions. High weekend workload, low social support at work, and low control at work account for a large part of variation in male premature CV mortality rates, whereas job insecurity, high weekend workload, and low control at work contribute most noticeably to variations in premature CV mortality rates among women. Low social support from friends, depression, anomie, hostility, alcohol misuse and cigarette smoking can also explain a considerable part of variations of premature CV mortality differences.

Conclusion: Variations in middle aged CV mortality rates in a rapidly changing society in CEE are largely accounted for by distinct unfavourable working and other psychosocial stress conditions.

  • CEE, Central-Eastern European
  • WE, Western Europe
  • CV, cardiovascular
  • BMI, body mass index
  • premature cardiovascular mortality
  • work stress
  • depression
  • anomie
  • alcohol misuse

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  • Funding: this study was supported by OTKA TS-40889 (2002), TS-40889 (2002), TS049785 (2004) and, NKFP 1/002/2001 and NKFP 1b/020/2004 grants.

  • Conflicts of interest: none.

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