Study: For Women, Stress Linked to Poorer Outcomes After a Heart Attack

New research from Yale School of Medicine has identified a potential factor that may help explain sex-based differences in recovery following a heart attack: young and middle-aged women experience higher levels of stress than their male counterparts.

The study focused on men and women between the ages of 18 and 55 who had experienced a heart attack. The researchers measured participants’ self-perceived psychological stress at the time of the cardiac event and then measured the changes in heart-specific and overall health status one month later.

Female participants had higher rates of diabetes, chronic lung disease, congestive heart failure and depression, among other poor outcomes.

Lead author Xiao Xu told the Yale News:

Helping patients develop positive attitudes and coping skills for stressful situations may not only improve their psychological well-being, but also help recovery after AMI. Stress management interventions that recognize and address different sources of stress for men and women would be beneficial.

The report, “Sex Differences in Perceived Stress and Early Recovery in Young and Middle-Aged Patients With Acute Myocardial Infarction,” appeared this month in the journal Circulation.