C-reactive protein is associated with psychological risk factors of cardiovascular disease in apparently healthy adults.
The current study examined the relation of anger, hostility, and severity of depressive symptoms, alone and in combination, to C-reactive protein (CRP) in healthy men and women.
A high sensitivity enzyme linked immuno sorbent assay (ELISA) was used to evaluate CRP levels in a multiethnic sample of 127 healthy, nonsmoking men and women. Fasting blood samples were collected the same day the assessments were done of anger and hostility using the Buss-Perry Aggression Questionnaire (BPAQ) and depressive symptomatology using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). A psychological risk factor (PRF) score representing a composite summary indicator of BDI and BPAQ-anger and -hostility was generated using principal component analysis. Log-transformed CRP values were examined using univariate and multivariate analyses adjusting for control variables of age, gender, body mass index (BMI), alcohol use, exercise frequency, ratio of total to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and family history of premature coronary heart disease (CHD).
Log-normalized CRP was correlated with BDI (r = 0.21, p =.02) and BPAQ anger (r = 0.20, p =.02), but not with BPAQ hostility. After adjustment for control variables, BDI (beta = 0.05, p =.011), BPAQ anger (beta = 0.05, p =.007), and the PRF composite score (beta = 0.27, p =.005), but not BPAQ hostility (beta = 0.03, p =.11), were significantly associated with log-normalized CRP.
Greater anger and severity of depressive symptoms, separately and in combination with hostility, were significantly associated with elevations in CRP in apparently healthy men and women. These associations were independent of potential confounding factors.
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