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Psychosocial Stress & CV Health in Older Women

Circulation; ePub 2019 Feb 28; Burroughs-Peña, et al

In women participating in the Women’s Health Study follow-up cohort, both cumulative psychosocial stress (CPS) and ideal cardiovascular health (ICH) varies by race/ethnicity. The follow-up cohort included 25,062 women (n=24,053 white; n=256 Hispanic; n=440 black; n=313 Asian). The health metric included smoking, body mass index (BMI), physical activity, diet, blood pressure, total cholesterol, and glucose; with higher levels indicating more ideal CV health and less CV risk (score range: 0‒7). Researchers created a CPS score which summarized acute and chronic stressors and traumatic life event stress reported on a stress questionnaire administered in 2012‒2013. They found:

  • White women had the lowest mean CPS scores.
  • Mean CPS scores remained higher in Hispanic, black, and Asian women compared to white women after adjusting for age, socioeconomic status, and psychological status (depression and anxiety).
  • Mean ICH scored varies by race/ethnicity and were significantly lower in black women and higher in Asian women compared to white women.


Burroughs-Peña MS, Mbassa RS, Slopen NB, et al. Cumulative psychosocial stress and ideal cardiovascular health in older women: Data by race/ethnicity. [Published online ahead of print February 28, 2019]. Circulation. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.118.033915.