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Is there a significant association between depression and coronary heart disease in women over 35 in different regions of the United States?
Perry, Rachel Michelle
Macera, CarolineAlcaraz, JohnAttin, Mina
x, 39 pages : illustrations
Heart disease has been the leading public health concern for many years. Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the most common type of heart disease and is the leading cause of death in both women and men in the United States. In 2007, CHD prevalence affected around 37% of men and 35% of women in the United States. While there is a generally strong understanding of the health behaviors leading to the development of CHD, such as hypertension, high cholesterol levels, diabetes, and obesity, among others, there is still some conflict among public health professionals regarding the role psychological factors play in the process. Depression in particular has been shown to have an effect on the development of CHD. Depression can be defined as feeling blue, unhappy, or miserable. These feelings can become so strong that they interfere with one's ability to carry out regular functions in daily life. Individuals who are depressed tend to have more negative overall health outcomes. Depression has also been associated with many of the risk factors for CHD. Women tend to have a higher chance for developing depression than men. Also, CHD is sometimes misunderstood as a disease that mainly affects men, but this is entirely untrue, as the prevalence rates are very similar in both men and women. This study looks at the association between depression and CHD, while looking at other health factors that can contribute to this association. The data comes from the 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), using women over 35 years old as the study population (n=266,654). The outcome variable of CHD was defined as those women who had ever been told by a health professional that they had CHD. The main predictor of depression was defined as those women who had ever been told by a health professional that they had a depressive disorder, including major depression, dysthymia, or minor depression. The BRFSS weighting system was used to give and generalizable representation of each variable. The results of this study strengthen the research that shows a positive correlation between depression and CHD. Women over 35 years old who had depression were 1.34 (95% CI 1.33, 1.34) times more likely to have CHD than women who had never been depressed, when controlling for the other covariates in the final model. The study also showed that a woman's risk for developing CHD increased with age. As for region, women in the south were more likely to have CHD than women in the other regions of the United States. One recommendation for future research would be to gather data on menopausal status for women over 35 years old, as much of the literature agrees that this could have a profound effect on when women develop CHD.
Includes bibliographical references (pages 34-36).
Public Health with a Concentration in Epidemiology
Health and Human Services
Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) San Diego State University, 2013
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