Category: Adult Depression / Dysthymia
Previous research has suggested that anxiety (Emdin et al., 2016) and depressive symptoms (Nicholson et al., 2006) are independently associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disorder (CVD). However, the majority of prior research has examined the impact of either depression or anxiety on CVD (Seldenrijk et al., 2015). The current study sought to add a new data point to the literature by investigating the impact of comorbid trait anxiety symptoms on the longitudinal relationship between chronic depressive symptoms assessed over a 10-year period and CVD five to 10 years later. It was hypothesized that after adjusting for mean trait anxiety symptoms, mean depressive symptoms would prospectively predict CVD.
Data from the Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study (MSLS; N = 206) as used to assess whether mean trait anxiety symptoms measured by the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI; Spielberger, Gorsuch, Lushene, Vagg, & Jacobs, 1983) or mean depressive symptoms measured by the Zung Depression Inventory (ZDI; Zung, 1965) at wave 4 (W4; 1990-1995) and wave 5 (W5; 1996-2000) predicted CVD at wave 6 (W6; 2001-2005) or wave 7 (W7; 2006-2010). The presence or absence of CVD, as defined as angina, congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, myocardial infarction, transient ischemic attack, and/or acute stroke, was determined based on information obtained from a researcher-administered medical interview and confirmed by medical records.
Logistic regression models were used to examine the relationship between mean trait anxiety symptoms, mean depressive symptoms, and CVD. Model 1 found that W4-5 mean depressive symptoms predicted W6-W7 CVD (OR = 1.128, CI: 1.073-1.186). Model 2 adjusted for mean trait anxiety symptoms (STAI). Results indicated that W4-5 mean depressive symptoms (OR = 1.197, CI: 1.106-1.295), not trait anxiety symptoms (OR = .886, CI: .787-.998), predicted W6-W7 CVD. Model 3 additionally adjusted for baseline demographics (i.e., age, sex, education). Results revealed that W4-5 mean depressive symptoms (OR = 1.173, CI: 1.078-1.275), not trait anxiety symptoms (OR = .928, CI: .819-1.052), predicted W6-W7 CVD. Model 4 additionally adjusted for mean mean arterial pressure (MAP) at W4-5. Results showed that W4-5 mean depressive symptoms (OR = 1.155, CI: 1.061-1.258), not trait anxiety symptoms (OR = .939, CI: .828-1.065), predicted W6-W7 CVD.
In line with predictions, chronic depressive symptoms, prospectively increased the likelihood for CVD. These results remained after adjustment for mean trait anxiety symptoms. These findings highlight the need for prevention, identification, and treatment of depression among older adults.