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Aging Ment Health. 2004 May;8(3):266-74.

The nexus of cardiovascular disease and depression revisited: the complete mental health perspective and the moderating role of age and gender.

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  • 1Department of Sociology, Room 225 Tarbutton Hall, Emory University, 1555 Pierce Drive, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.


This study employs a measure of mental health as a complete state that combines information about an individual's mental illness (i.e., major depressive episode in the past 12 months) and subjective well-being (i.e., mental health) status to investigate its linkage with cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Data are from a representative sample of USA adults between the ages of 25 and 74 collected in 1995 (n = 3,032). About 12% of adults reported any CVD. Independent of mental health status, risk for any CVD increased with age and as education decreased, and the risk of any CVD was higher among males, married adults, and unemployed adults. The prevalence of any CVD was lowest in adults who were mentally healthy and higher among adults with major depressive episode, with minor depression, with languishing, and with moderate mental health. The relationship of CVD and mental health was moderated by age and sex; mental health status was associated with significant risk for any CVD primarily among females between the ages of 45 and 74. Findings contribute to a growing literature on the protective effects of high, and risk effects of low, levels of subjective well-being, and the role of age and sex in specifying specific physical and mental health comorbidities.

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