The contribution of stress to the social patterning of clinical and subclinical CVD risk factors in African Americans: the Jackson Heart Study.
ABSTRACT It is often hypothesized that psychosocial stress may contribute to associations of socioeconomic position (SEP) with risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, few studies have investigated this hypothesis among African Americans, who may be more frequently exposed to stressors due to social and economic circumstances. Cross-sectional data from the Jackson Heart Study (JHS), a large population-based cohort of African Americans, were used to examine the contributions of stressors to the association of SEP with selected cardiovascular (CVD) risk factors and subclinical atherosclerotic disease. Among women, higher income was associated with lower prevalence of hypertension, obesity, diabetes and carotid plaque and lower levels of stress. Higher stress levels were also weakly, albeit positively, associated with hypertension, diabetes, and obesity, but not with plaque. Adjustment for the stress measures reduced the associations of income with hypertension, diabetes and obesity by a small amount that was comparable to, or larger, than the reduction observed after adjustment for behavioral risk factors. In men, high income was associated with lower prevalence of diabetes and stressors were not consistently associated with any of the outcomes examined. Overall, modest mediation effects of stressors were observed for diabetes (15.9%), hypertension (9.7%), and obesity (5.1%) among women but only results for diabetes were statistically significant. No mediation effects of stressors were observed in men. Our results suggest that stressors may partially contribute to associations of SEP with diabetes and possibly hypertension and obesity in African American women. Further research with appropriate study designs and data is needed to understand the dynamic and interacting effects of stressors and behaviors on CVD outcomes as well as sex differences in these effects.
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ABSTRACT: Both subjective and objective measures of lower social position have been shown to be associated with poorer health. A psychosocial, as opposed to material, aetiology of health inequalities predicts that subjective social status should be a stronger determinant of health than objective social position. In a workplace based prospective study of 5232 Scottish men recruited in the early 1970s and followed up for 25 years we examined the association between objective and subjective indices of social position, perceived psychological stress, cardiovascular disease risk factors and subsequent health. Lower social position, whether indexed by more objective or more subjective measures, was consistently associated with an adverse profile of established disease risk factors. Perceived stress showed the opposite association. The main subjective social position measure used was based on individual perceptions of workplace status (as well as their actual occupation, men were asked whether they saw themselves as "employees", "foremen", or "managers"). Compared to foremen, employees had a small and imprecisely estimated increased risk of all cause mortality, whereas managers had a more marked decreased risk. The strongest predictors of increased mortality were father's manual as opposed to non-manual occupation; lack of car access and shorter stature, (an indicator of material deprivation in childhood). In the fully adjusted analyses, perceived work-place status was only weakly associated with mortality. In this population it appears that objective material circumstances, particularly in early life, are a more important determinant of health than perceptions of relative status. Conversely, higher perceived stress was not associated with poorer health, presumably because, in this population, higher stress was not associated with material disadvantage. Together these findings suggest that, rather than targeting perceptions of disadvantage and associated negative emotions, interventions to reduce health inequalities should aim to reduce objective material disadvantage, particularly that experienced in early life.Social Science [?] Medicine 12/2005; 61(9):1916-29. · 2.73 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Describes the development of a new instrument, the Life Experiences Survey (LES), for the measurement of life changes. The LES is a 57-item self-report measure that is divided into 2 sections: Section 1 consists of 47 items that refer to life changes in a wide variety of situations; Section 2 consists of 10 items that are designed primarily for use with students. It was designed to eliminate certain shortcomings of previous life stress measures and allows for separate assessment of positive and negative life experiences as well as individualized ratings of the impact of events. The reliability and possible sex differences of the LES are discussed, and the LES is compared with the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale, the Psychological Screening Inventory, the Beck Depression Inventory, Rotter's Internal–External Locus of Control Scale, and the Schedule of Recent Experiences using undergraduate samples. Several studies bearing on the usefulness of the Life Experiences Survey are presented and the implications of the findings are discussed.Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 11/1978; 46(5):932-46. · 4.85 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The authors investigated whether neighborhood socioeconomic characteristics are associated with coronary heart disease prevalence and risk factors, whether these associations persist after adjustment for individual-level social class indicators, and whether the effects of individual-level indicators vary across neighborhoods. The study sample consisted of 12,601 persons in four US communities (Washington County, Maryland; Forsyth County, North Carolina; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Jackson, Mississippi) participating in the baseline examination of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study (1987-1989). Neighborhood characteristics were obtained from 1990 US Census block-group measures. Multilevel models were used to estimate associations with neighborhood variables after adjustment for individual-level indicators of social class. Living in deprived neighborhoods was associated with increased prevalence of coronary heart disease and increased levels of risk factors, with associations generally persisting after adjustment for individual-level variables. Inconsistent associations were documented for serum cholesterol and disease prevalence in African-American men. For Jackson African-American men living in poor neighborhoods, coronary heart disease prevalence decreased as neighborhood characteristics worsened. Additionally, in African-American men from Jackson, low social class was associated with increased serum cholesterol in "richer" neighborhoods but decreased serum cholesterol in "poorer" neighborhoods. Neighborhood environments may be one of the pathways through which social structure shapes coronary heart disease risk.American Journal of Epidemiology 08/1997; 146(1):48-63. · 4.78 Impact Factor