The great leveller.
About this work
An account of an investigation into heart disease among British civil servants - the Whitehall Studies - which discovered that it was far more prevalent among lower rank employees than those at the top who might be expected to experience more stress. It examines the physiology of stress and looks at health in apparently stressful situations - war, and Hungary under Communism - and finds that the hardships involved were balanced by social factors which made for healthier populations. A study of an Italian immigrant community in the U.S. found that in spite of material hardship and an apparently unhealthy diet, they experienced 50 percent fewer heart attacks than people in neighbouring towns. The younger generation, seeking greater material advantages, tended to move out of the community and a rise in heart disease was consequently recorded among them. The findings of this study indicate that strong social bonds, a sense of identity and some control over one's working environment are essential in maintaining good health.