Researchers at Yale University recently determined that young and middle-aged individuals tend to experience higher levels of stress, which is associated with worse recovery rates after acute myocardial infarction. Results also indicated that women perceive greater psychological stress than men, which partially explains women’s worse recovery. The study titled “Sex Differences in Perceived Stress and Early Recovery in Young and Middle-Aged Patients With Acute Myocardial Infarction,” was recently published in the journal Circulation.
“Women tend to report greater stress and more stressful life events than men, potentially because of their different roles in family life and work, as compared to men,” said first author Xiao Xu, assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences at Yale School of Medicine in a recent news release. “This difference in the level of stress may be an important reason for sex-based differences in recovery after acute myocardial infarction.”
The research team led by Xiao Xu, PhD at Yale/YNHH Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation examined sex differences in stress after 1-month acute Myocardial Infarction recovery in 3572 patients, from which 2397 were women and 1175 were men aged between 18 and 55 years. Levels of stress were assessed with the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS).
At baseline PSS average scores were 23.4 for men and 27.0 for women. Results showed more stress in women related with sex differences in clinical comorbidities, physical and mental health condition, intrafamily conflict, caregiving demands, and financial hardship. Data analysis also determined that women had worse recovery rates than men in the first month after acute myocardial infarction. High levels of stress at baseline were related with worse recovery in angina, quality of life and mental health condition.
“This study is distinctive in focusing particularly on young women and going beyond traditional predictors of risk to reveal how the context of these people’s lives influences their prognosis,” said senior author Harlan M. Krumholz, M.D., principal investigator of the VIRGO study in the news release.
Dr. Xu added in the news release, “Helping patients develop positive attitudes and coping skills for stressful situations may not only improve their psychological well-being, but also help recovery after AMI. Stress management interventions that recognize and address different sources of stress for men and women would be beneficial.”