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Circulation. 2012 Jul 24;126(4):410-7. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.112.094946. Epub 2012 Jun 18.

Depressive symptom clusters and 5-year incidence of coronary artery calcification: the coronary artery risk development in young adults study.

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Department of Psychology, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, 402 N Blackford St, LD 100E, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA.



Because depression is a multidimensional construct and few studies have compared the relative importance of its facets in predicting cardiovascular risk, we evaluated the utility of depressive symptom clusters in predicting the 5-year incidence of coronary artery calcification (CAC).


Participants were 2171 middle-aged adults (58% female; 43% black) from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study who were free of cardiovascular disease. Depressive symptom clusters (z scores) were measured by questionnaires in 2000 to 2001, and CAC was measured by electron beam computed tomography in 2000 to 2001 and 2005 to 2006. There were 243 cases (11%) of incident CAC, defined as the absence of CAC at baseline and the presence of CAC at follow-up. Total depressive symptoms (odds ratio, 1.16; 95% confidence interval, 1.02-1.33; P=0.03) and the depressed affect cluster (odds ratio, 1.17; 95% confidence interval, 1.03-1.33; P=0.02) predicted incident CAC; however, the somatic, interpersonal distress, low positive affect, and pessimism clusters did not. The depressed affect-incident CAC relationship was independent of age, sex, race, education, and antidepressant use; was similar across sex and racial groups; and was partially accounted for by tobacco use and mean arterial pressure.


In contrast to recent results indicating that the somatic cluster is the most predictive of cardiovascular outcomes, we found that the prospective association between depressive symptoms and incident CAC was driven by the depressed affect cluster. Our findings raise the possibility that there may not be 1 facet of depression that is the most cardiotoxic across all contexts.

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