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: Patterns of fat distribution are heavily influenced by psychological stress, sex, and among women, by menopause status. Emerging evidence suggests the lack of perceived neighborhood safety due to crime may contribute to psychological stress and obesity among exposed residents. Our objective is to determine if perceived neighborhood safety is associated with abdominal adiposity among African-American men and women, and among pre- and postmenopausal women in the Jackson Heart Study.PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(8):e105251. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Black women in the United States are disproportionately affected by obesity, with almost two-thirds considered obese based on body mass index. Obesity has been directly linked to cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in black women. Therefore, understanding contributors to the genesis of obesity in black women is imperative. While biologic differences likely result in varying obesity prevalence across racial/ethnic groups, behaviors such as post-partum weight retention and limited leisure-time physical activity, may especially contribute to obesity in black women. Black women also appear to be particularly susceptible to cultural, psychosocial, and environmental factors that can promote weight gain. Therapeutic interventions are being tailored to specifically address these social determinants of health and to foster lifestyle modification; however, more work is needed to understand barriers to behavior change for black women. Knowledge gaps also remain in identifying mechanisms by which pharmacologic and surgical treatments for obesity modify cardiovascular risk in black women.Current Cardiovascular Risk Reports 10/2013; 7(5):378-386.
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ABSTRACT: Background Stress hormones have been hypothesized to contribute to the social patterning of cardiovascular disease but evidence of differences in hormone levels across social groups is scant. Purpose To examine the associations of socioeconomic and psychosocial factors with urinary levels of cortisol and catecholamines and determine whether these associations are modified by race/ethnicity. Methods Measures of cortisol, epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine were obtained on 12-h overnight urine specimens from 942 White, African American and Hispanic participants in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Linear regression was used to examine associations of income-wealth index, education, depression, anger, anxiety and chronic stress with the four hormones after adjustment for covariates. Results Higher income-wealth index was associated with lower levels of urinary cortisol, epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine, after adjustment for age, sex, race/ethnicity, medication use, body mass index, smoking, and alcohol use. Education and psychosocial factors were not associated with urinary stress hormone levels in the full sample. However, there was some evidence of effect modification by race: SES factors were more strongly inversely associated with cortisol in African Americans than in other groups and anger was inversely associated with catecholamines in African Americans but not in the other groups. Conclusions Lower SES as measured by income-wealth index in a multi-ethnic sample is associated with higher levels of urinary cortisol and catecholamines. Heterogeneity in these associations by race/ethnicity warrants further exploration.Psychoneuroendocrinology 01/2014; 41:132–141. · 5.59 Impact Factor