The association between chronic stress type and C-reactive protein in the multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis: does gender make a difference?
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The objective of this study is to examine how chronic stress in major life domains [relationship, work, sympathetic-caregiving, financial] relates to CVD risk, operationalized using the inflammatory marker C-Reactive Protein (CRP), and whether gender differences exist. Participants were 6,583 individuals aged 45–84 years, recruited as part of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Demographic and behavioral factors, health history, and chronic stress were self-reported. CRP was obtained through venous blood draw. In aggregate, gender by chronic stress interaction effects accounted for a significant, albeit small, amount of variance in CRP (P < .01). The sympathetic-caregiving stress by gender interaction was significant (P < .01); the work stress by gender effect approached significance (P = .05). Women with sympathetic-caregiving stress had higher CRP than those without, whereas no difference in CRP by stress group was observed for men. Findings underscore the importance of considering gender as an effect modifier in analyses of stress—CVD risk relationships.
KeywordsCardiovascular disease C-reactive protein Chronic stress Gender Inflammation Stress domains
The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) was supported by contracts N01-HC-95159 through N01-HC-95165 and N01-HC-95166 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The authors thank the other investigators, staff, and participants of the MESA study for their valuable contributions. A full list of participating MESA investigators and institutions can be found at http://www.mesa-nhlbi.org. Smriti Shivpuri was supported by grant number T32HL079891-03 from the National Institutes of Health (during preparation of this manuscript). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
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