Psychosocial Risk Factors and Cardiovascular Disease and Death in a Population-Based Cohort from 21 Low-, Middle-, and High-Income Countries

Ailiana Santosa, Annika Rosengren, Chinthanie Ramasundarahettige, Sumathy Rangarajan, Jephat Chifamba, Scott A. Lear, Paul Poirier, Karen E. Yeates, Rita Yusuf, Andreas Orlandini, Liu Weida, Li Sidong, Zhu Yibing, Viswanathan Mohan, Manmeet Kaur, Katarzyna Zatonska, Noorhassim Ismail, Patricio Lopez-Jaramillo, Romaina Iqbal, Lia M. Palileo-VillanuevaAfzalhusein H. Yusufali, Khalid F. Alhabib, Salim Yusuf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Importance: Stress may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Most studies on stress and CVD have been conducted in high-income Western countries, but whether stress is associated with CVD in other settings has been less well studied. Objective: To investigate the association of a composite measure of psychosocial stress and the development of CVD events and mortality in a large prospective study involving populations from 21 high-, middle-, and low-income countries across 5 continents. Design, Setting, and Participants: This population-based cohort study used data from the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology study, collected between January 2003 and March 2021. Participants included individuals aged 35 to 70 years living in 21 low-, middle-, and high-income countries. Data were analyzed from April 8 to June 15, 2021. Exposures: All participants were assessed on a composite measure of psychosocial stress assessed at study entry using brief questionnaires concerning stress at work and home, major life events, and financial stress. Main Outcomes and Measures: The outcomes of interest were stroke, major coronary heart disease (CHD), CVD, and all-cause mortality. Results: A total of 118706 participants (mean [SD] age 50.4 [9.6] years; 69842 [58.8%] women and 48864 [41.2%] men) without prior CVD and with complete baseline and follow-up data were included. Of these, 8699 participants (7.3%) reported high stress, 21797 participants (18.4%) reported moderate stress, 34958 participants (29.4%) reported low stress, and 53252 participants (44.8%) reported no stress. High stress, compared with no stress, was more likely with younger age (mean [SD] age, 48.9 [8.9] years vs 51.1 [9.8] years), abdominal obesity (2981 participants [34.3%] vs 10599 participants [19.9%]), current smoking (2319 participants [26.7%] vs 10477 participants [19.7%]) and former smoking (1571 participants [18.1%] vs 3978 participants [7.5%]), alcohol use (4222 participants [48.5%] vs 13222 participants [24.8%]), and family history of CVD (5435 participants [62.5%] vs 20255 participants [38.0%]). During a median (IQR) follow-up of 10.2 (8.6-11.9) years, a total of 7248 deaths occurred. During the course of follow-up, there were 5934 CVD events, 4107 CHD events, and 2880 stroke events. Compared with no stress and after adjustment for age, sex, education, marital status, location, abdominal obesity, hypertension, smoking, diabetes, and family history of CVD, as the level of stress increased, there were increases in risk of death (low stress: hazard ratio [HR], 1.09 [95% CI, 1.03-1.16]; high stress: 1.17 [95% CI, 1.06-1.29]) and CHD (low stress: HR, 1.09 [95% CI, 1.01-1.18]; high stress: HR, 1.24 [95% CI, 1.08-1.42]). High stress, but not low or moderate stress, was associated with CVD (HR, 1.22 [95% CI, 1.08-1.37]) and stroke (HR, 1.30 [95% CI, 1.09-1.56]) after adjustment. Conclusions and Relevance: This cohort study found that higher psychosocial stress, measured as a composite score of self-perceived stress, life events, and financial stress, was significantly associated with mortality as well as with CVD, CHD, and stroke events..

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2138920
JournalJAMA network open
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2021


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