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Ways of coping and biomarkers of an increased atherothrombotic cardiovascular disease risk in elderly individuals.


Objective. To investigate the relationship between coping and atherothrombotic biomarkers of an increased cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in the elderly. Methods. We studied 136 elderly caregiving and noncaregiving men and women who completed the Ways of Coping Checklist to assess problem-focused coping, seeking social support (SSS), blamed self, wishful thinking, and avoidance coping. They had circulating levels of 12 biomarkers measured. We also probed for potential mediator and moderator variables (chronic stress, affect, health behavior, autonomic activity) for the relation between coping and biomarkers. Results. After controlling for demographic and CVD risk factors, greater use of SSS was associated with elevated levels of serum amyloid A (P = 0.001), C-reactive protein (CRP) (P = 0.002), vascular cellular adhesion molecule (VCAM)-1 (P = 0.021), and D-dimer (P = 0.032). There were several moderator effects. For instance, greater use of SSS was associated with elevated VCAM-1 (P < 0.001) and CRP (P = 0.001) levels in subjects with low levels of perceived social support and positive affect, respectively. The other coping styles were not significantly associated with any biomarker. Conclusions. Greater use of SSS might compromise cardiovascular health through atherothrombotic mechanisms, including elevated inflammation (i.e., serum amyloid A, CRP, VCAM-1) and coagulation (i.e., D-dimer) activity. Moderating variables need to be considered in this relationship.

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