(HealthDay News) – In older black and white adults, psychosocial distress is related to fatal and nonfatal stroke, according to a study published online Dec. 13 in Stroke.

Kimberly M. Henderson, from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and colleagues analyzed data from community-dwelling black and non-Hispanic white adults aged ≥65 years (4,120 for stroke mortality; 2,649 for incident stroke) participating in the Chicago Health and Aging Project. A composite measure of depressive symptoms, perceived stress, neuroticism, and life dissatisfaction was used to derive psychosocial distress.

The researchers identified 151 stroke deaths and 452 incident strokes over six years of follow-up. For each one-standard deviation increase in distress there was a significant increase in the risk for stroke mortality (hazard ratio [HR], 1.47) and incident stroke (HR, 1.18). After adjustment for stroke risk factors, the associations were attenuated and remained significant for stroke mortality (HR, 1.29) but not for incident stroke (HR, 1.09; 95% CI, 0.98–1.21). In fully adjusted models, distress was significantly related to incident hemorrhagic strokes (HR, 1.7) but not ischemic strokes (HR, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.91–1.15).

“In sum, this study provides important evidence linking psychosocial distress to risk of both fatal and nonfatal stroke outcomes in elderly blacks and whites,” the authors write. “Better understanding of the psychosocial risk pathways for cerebrovascular disease may lead to future interventions that could reduce the risk of stroke in the elderly.”

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