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Lifetime Major Depression is Associated With Coronary Heart Disease in Older Adults: Results From the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions

Herbst, Sarah BSc; Pietrzak, Robert H. MPH; Wagner, Julie PhD; White, William B. MD; Petry, Nancy M. PhD

doi: 10.1097/PSY.0b013e3181574977
Original Articles

Objective: To examine the association between mood and anxiety disorders and coronary heart disease (CHD) in a nationally representative sample of older adults.

Methods: Data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions were analyzed with 10,573 adults aged ≥60 years surveyed.

Results: A total of 13.30% of older adults reported diagnoses of CHD. Age (odds ratio (OR) = 1.04), morbid obesity (OR = 1.60), hypertension (OR = 2.29), lifetime nicotine dependence (OR = 1.41), and lifetime drug use disorders (OR = 2.19) were all significantly related to CHD. Being female (OR = 0.73) relative to male and a lifetime social drinker (OR = 0.71) compared with alcohol abstainers decreased the odds of CHD. After controlling for these characteristics, the presence of a lifetime major depressive episode was significantly associated with increased risk of CHD (OR = 2.05), but the lifetime anxiety disorders assessed were not. The association between lifetime mood disorders and CHD was similar for both genders, and single versus multiple depressive episodes conferred equal risk of CHD.

Conclusions: These data demonstrate that a lifetime major depressive episode increases the risk of CHD in older adults.

CHD = coronary heart disease; NIAAA = National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism; NESARC = National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions; AUDADIS = Alcohol Use Disorder and Associated Disabilities Interview Schedule; DSM-IV = Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders—Fourth Edition; BMI = body mass index; OR = odds ratio; CI = confidence interval.

From the Department of Psychiatry (S.H., R.H.P., N.M.P.), University of Connecticut School of Medicine; Department of Oral Health and Diagnostic Sciences (J.W.), University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine; and Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center (W.B.W.), Department of Medicine, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, Connecticut.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Nancy M. Petry, Department of Psychiatry, University of Connecticut Health Center, 263 Farmington Avenue, Farmington, CT 06030-3944. E-mail:

Received for publication August 24, 2006; revision received July 3, 2007.

Preparation of this report was supported in part by National Institutes of Health Grants GCRC M01-RR06192, R01-MH60417, R01-MH60417-Supp, R01-DA13444, R01-DA018883, R01-DA14618, R01-DA016855, P50-AA03510, and P50-DA09241.

Copyright © 2007 by American Psychosomatic Society
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