Young and middle-aged women are becoming more stressed than men because of their roles in family life and work.
The increasing stress burden could make it harder for them to recover from a heart attack, according to Yale School of Medicine researchers
“Women tend to report greater stress and more stressful life events than men, potentially because of their different roles in family life and work, as compared to men,” said Xiao Xu, assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences at Yale School of Medicine.
“This difference in the level of stress may be an important reason for sex-based differences in recovery after acute myocardial infarction.”
Xu and colleagues studied heart attack patients 18 to 55 years old from a large, diverse network of hospitals in the United States, Spain and Australia.
They measured each patient’s self-perceived psychological stress during the initial hospital stay for AMI
The team also measured each patient’s recovery based on changes in their angina-specific and overall health status between initial hospitalization for AMI and one month after AMI.
Compared with men, women had significantly higher rates of diabetes, chronic lung disease, chronic renal dysfunction, depression, and cancer, as well as previous stents, congestive heart failure, and stroke.
Women were also more likely to have children or grandchildren living in their household, while experiencing greater financial strain.
“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” said Xu
“Stress management interventions that recognize and address different sources of stress for men and women would be beneficial.”
The findings appear in the current issue of Circulation.