Financial Stress and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in the Jackson Heart Study
Financial hardship is associated with coronary heart disease risk factors, and may disproportionately affect some African American groups. This study examines whether stress because of financial hardship is associated with incident coronary heart disease in African Americans.
The Jackson Heart Study is a longitudinal cohort study of cardiovascular disease risks in African Americans in the Jackson, Mississippi metropolitan statistical area. Participant enrollment began in 2000. Analyses were performed in 2017 and included adjudicated endpoints through December 2012. Financial stress was assessed from the Jackson Heart Study Weekly Stress Inventory and categorized into four levels: (1) did not experience financial stress, (2) no stress, (3) mild stress, and (4) moderate to high stress. Incident coronary heart disease was defined as the first event of definite or probable myocardial infarction, definite fatal myocardial infarction, definite fatal coronary heart disease, or cardiac procedure. There were 2,256 individuals in this analysis.
Participants with moderate to high (versus no) financial stress were more likely to have incident coronary heart disease events after controlling for demographics, SES, access to care, and traditional clinical risk factors (hazard ratio=2.42, 95% CI=1.13, 5.17). The association between financial stress and coronary heart disease was no longer statistically significant in a model adjusting for three specific risk factors: depression, smoking status, and diabetes (hazard ratio=1.99, 95% CI=0.91, 4.39).
Financial stress may be an unrecognized risk factor for coronary heart disease for African Americans. Additional research should examine these associations in intervention studies that address perceived stress, in addition to other coronary heart disease risk factors, in patients experiencing financial stress.