Personality traits and the risk of coronary heart disease or stroke in women with diabetes – an epidemiological study based on the Women's Health Initiative


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Abstract

Objective:We studied the associations between personality traits and the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) or stroke in women with diabetes.Methods:From the Women's Health Initiative, 15,029 women aged 50 to 79 years at enrollment and with self-reported treated diabetes at baseline or follow-up, were followed for a mean of 10 years. Personality traits measured from validated scales included hostility, optimism, ambivalence over emotional expressiveness, and negative emotional expressiveness. Multivariable Cox proportional-hazards regression models were used to examine associations between personality traits and the risk of adjudicated CHD (nonfatal myocardial infarction and CHD death) or stroke outcomes. Progressively adjusted regression approach was used in the multivariable models to adjust for demographics, depression, anthropometric variables, and lifestyle factors.Results:A total of 1,118 incident CHD and 710 incident stroke cases were observed. Women in the highest quartile of hostility had 22% (hazard ratio [HR] 1.22, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.01-1.48) increased risk for CHD compared with women in the lowest quartile of hostility. P values for trend were greater than 0.05. Stratified analysis by prevalent or incident diabetes showed that the highest quartile of hostility had 34% increased risk for CHD (HR 1.34, 95% CI 1.03-1.74) among women with incident diabetes. Other personality traits were not significantly associated with stroke or CHD.Conclusions:Hostility was associated with incidence of CHD among postmenopausal women with diabetes, especially among incident diabetes. These results provide a basis for targeted prevention programs for women with a high level of hostility and diabetes.

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