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Ways of Coping and Biomarkers of an Increased Atherothrombotic Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Elderly Individuals

DOI: 10.1155/2012/875876

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Abstract:

Objective. To investigate the relationship between coping and atherothrombotic biomarkers of an increased cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in the elderly. Methods. We studied 136 elderly caregiving and noncaregiving men and women who completed the Ways of Coping Checklist to assess problem-focused coping, seeking social support (SSS), blamed self, wishful thinking, and avoidance coping. They had circulating levels of 12 biomarkers measured. We also probed for potential mediator and moderator variables (chronic stress, affect, health behavior, autonomic activity) for the relation between coping and biomarkers. Results. After controlling for demographic and CVD risk factors, greater use of SSS was associated with elevated levels of serum amyloid A ( ), C-reactive protein (CRP) ( ), vascular cellular adhesion molecule (VCAM)-1 ( ), and D-dimer ( ). There were several moderator effects. For instance, greater use of SSS was associated with elevated VCAM-1 ( ) and CRP ( ) levels in subjects with low levels of perceived social support and positive affect, respectively. The other coping styles were not significantly associated with any biomarker. Conclusions. Greater use of SSS might compromise cardiovascular health through atherothrombotic mechanisms, including elevated inflammation (i.e., serum amyloid A, CRP, VCAM-1) and coagulation (i.e., D-dimer) activity. Moderating variables need to be considered in this relationship. 1. Introduction Coping is undoubtedly one of the most extensively researched concepts in behavioral medicine. How people react to environmental challenges, as well as health-related hardship to reduce psychological distress, is a function of the type of the stressor and of an individual’s coping styles which may include thoughts, emotions, and behaviors [1]; the resulting physiological changes may favourably or adversely impact health [2]. However, compared to the literature about the importance of coping for psychological health outcomes, research on coping styles and biological indicators of health is small [3]. Coping styles can be assessed in many ways [4]. Frequently used self-rating tools to measure coping are the Revised Ways of Coping Questionnaire (WOC-R) [5, 6] and the Revised Ways of Coping Checklist (WCCL-R) that derived from the WOC-R [7]. A previous meta-analysis found several subscales from the WOC-R and WCCL-R were associated with psychological and physical health outcomes in nonclinical adult samples, but greater use of seeking social support (SSS) was the only subscale being associated with poor physical health [8].

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