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Women Health. 1996;24(3):19-35.

Psychosocial correlates of chest pain among African-American women.

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Department of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology, Loyola University-Chicago, Maywood, IL, USA.


While 10-30% of individuals with chest pain who undergo cardiac arteriography are found to have no demonstrable pathology, women are far more likely than men to have normal coronary arteries in the presence of angina. Black women, in particular, frequently seek medical attention for persistent episodes of chest pain. This cross-sectional study was designed to examine the potential role of psychological and social factors in relation to chest pain among black women. Among our population-based sample of 188 women, 48% reported experiencing chest pain. Seventeen of these cases met the Rose criteria for classification as cardiac pain while 74 of them reported pain not consistent with cardiac origin. A statistically significant difference was observed in the stress scores among the women; the highest stress scores occurred among those with Rose angina and the lowest scores were obtained from those women reporting no chest pain experiences (p < 0.001). There was no association detected between the presence and type of chest pain and psychosocial measures of depression and coping abilities. These results confirm the high rates of chest pain experienced among black women, and provide insight into the role of psychological factors that should be considered in the identification of treatment options.

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