Association of Psychosocial Stress with Risk of Acute Stroke

Catriona Reddin, Robert Murphy, Graeme J. Hankey, Conor Judge, Denis Xavier, Annika Rosengren, John Ferguson, Alberto Alvarez-Iglesias, Shahram Oveisgharan, Helle K. Iversen, Fernando Lanas, Fawaz Al-Hussein, Anna Członkowska, Aytekin Oguz, Clodagh McDermott, Nana Pogosova, German Málaga, Peter Langhorne, Xingyu Wang, Mohammad WasaySalim Yusuf, Martin O'Donnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Importance: Psychosocial stress is considered a modifiable risk factor for stroke. Given the prevalence of chronic and acute exposure to stress, it represents a potentially attractive target for population-health interventions. Objectives: To determine the association of psychosocial stress with the risk of acute stroke and explore factors that might modify the association of stress with risk of acute stroke in a large international population. Design, Setting, and Participants: INTERSTROKE is an international retrospective case-control study of risk factors for first acute stroke in 32 countries in Asia, North and South America, Europe, Australia, the Middle East, and Africa. A total of 13462 patients with stroke and 13488 matched controls were recruited between January 11, 2007, and August 8, 2015. The present analyses were performed from June 1 to 30, 2021, and included 13350 cases and 13462 controls with available data on psychosocial stress. Exposures: Psychosocial stress and occurrence of stressful life events within the preceding year were measured using a standardized questionnaire of self-reported stress at home and work. Main Outcomes and Measures: The association of stress with acute stroke and its subtypes was examined using multivariable conditional logistic regression and factors that might modify the association, particularly self-reported locus of control. Results: Among 26812 participants included in the analysis, the mean (SD) age of cases was 62.2 (13.6) years; that of controls, 61.3 (13.3) years; 7960 cases (59.6%) and 8017 controls (59.6%) were men. Several periods of stress and permanent stress were reported for 2745 cases (20.5%) and 1933 controls (14.4%), with marked regional variation in prevalence, with the lowest in China (201 of 3981 [5.0%] among controls and 364 of 3980 [9.1%] among cases) and highest in South East Asia (233 of 855 [26.1%] among controls and 241 of 782 [30.8%] among cases). Increased stress at home (odds ratio [OR], 1.95 [95% CI, 1.77-2.15]) and at work (OR, 2.70 [95% CI, 2.25-3.23]) and recent stressful life events (OR, 1.31 [95% CI, 1.19-1.43]) were associated with an increased risk of acute stroke on multivariable analyses (vs no self-reported stress). Higher locus of control at home was associated with a reduced odds of all stroke (OR, 0.73 [95% CI, 0.68-0.79]), and higher locus of control both at work and at home were associated with a lower odds of acute stroke and significantly diminished the association with stress at work (OR, 2.20 [95% CI, 1.88-2.58]; P =.008 for interaction) and home (OR, 1.69 [95% CI, 1.44-1.98]; P <.001 for interaction) for acute stroke. Conclusions and Relevance: Psychosocial stress is a common risk factor for acute stroke. The findings of this case-control study suggest that higher locus of control is associated with lower risk of stroke and may be an important effect modifier of the risk associated with psychosocial stress..

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E2244836
JournalJAMA network open
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 9 Dec 2022


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