Psychosocial Stressors Tied to Incident Atrial Fibrillation in Postmenopausal Women

In HealthDay News
by Healthday

Analysis revealed two clusters of highly correlated psychosocial factors — stress and strain

By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Sept. 1, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Among postmenopausal women, two clusters of psychosocial stressors are significantly associated with incident atrial fibrillation (AF), according to a study published online Aug. 30 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Susan X. Zhao, M.D., from Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, California, and colleagues used data from 83,736 postmenopausal women participating in the Women’s Health Initiative to identify psychosocial factors associated with incident AF.

The researchers found that during an average 10.5 years of follow-up, there were 23,954 cases of incident AF. Hierarchical cluster analysis identified two clusters that were highly correlated with psychosocial variables: The Stress Cluster included stressful life events, depressive symptoms, and insomnia, while the Strain Cluster included optimism, social support, social strain, cynical hostility, and emotional expressiveness. There was an association between incident AF and higher values in the Stress Cluster (hazard ratio [HR], 1.07 per unit cluster score; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.05 to 1.09) and the Strain Cluster (HR, 1.03 per unit cluster score; 95 percent CI, 1.00 to 1.05). The individual psychosocial predictors most strongly associated with AF incidence included insomnia (adjusted HR, 1.04) and stressful life events (adjusted HR, 1.02). The Strain Cluster was more strongly associated with incident AF in those with lower traditional AF risks in a subgroup analysis (P for interaction = 0.02).

“I strongly believe that in addition to age, genetic and other heart-health related risk factors, psychosocial factors are the missing piece to the puzzle of the genesis of atrial fibrillation,” Zhao said in a statement.

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