Facets of negative affectivity and blood pressure in middle-aged men

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Cornel V. Igna
Juhani Julkunen *
Jari Lipsanen
Hannu Vanhanen
(*) Corresponding Author:
Juhani Julkunen | juhani.julkunen@helsinki.fi


Research results suggesting that facets of negative affectivity, i.e. anxiety, anger-hostility, and depression, relate to incident cardiovascular diseases have been steadily increasing. Evidence for depression has been especially extensive. Elevated blood pressure, a major risk factor of cardiovascular diseases, is one probable mediator in this context. The purpose of this study was to clarify the relationship of specific key elements of depressive disposition, i.e. depressive symptoms, hopelessness and vital exhaustion, with health behavior and blood pressure. Study sample was comprised of 710 middle-aged men. Participants completed self-report questionnaires assessing health behavior, depressive symptoms, vital exhaustion and hopelessness. Statistical analyses involved descriptive analyses, correlations and path analysis. Depressive symptoms and vital exhaustion associated with several unfavorable lifestyles such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and inactivity (standardized solution coefficients: 0.10, 0.14, 0.17, accordingly). However, no significant direct associations with blood pressure could be found for depressive symptoms or vital exhaustion. Hopelessness associated only with unhealthy diet (standardized solution coefficient -0.10) Moreover, for hopelessness, results showed a direct but inverse association with systolic blood pressure (standardized solution coefficient -0.08). Results suggest that the previously reported relations of depression and vital exhaustion with blood pressure could be mediated by unfavorable lifestyles. The relation of hopelessness with adverse health behaviors seems to be less significant. Also, the role of hopelessness as a risk factor of elevated blood pressure is not supported by the results of this study.

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