Abstract / Description: 

PURPOSE: Independent and combined effects of air pollution and psychosocial stressors on hypertension, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, among Hispanics are not well studied. METHODS: We administered a pilot-tested questionnaire on individual- and neighborhood-level psychosocial stressors, developed with community input, to nearly 2500 individuals from the MD Anderson Cancer Center cohort of Mexican-Americans. We used data from local air quality monitors to estimate individual exposures to ozone (O3) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) for the 12-month period preceding enrollment using inverse distance interpolation. We applied logistic regression models to examine relationships between exposures to psychosocial stressors and air pollution with prevalent hypertension and used stratified analyses to examine the interacting effects of these two exposures on hypertension. RESULTS: There was a positive association between prevalent hypertension and a high frequency of feeling anxious or depressed (prevalence odds ratio (POR)?=?1.36, 95% CI [1.06-1.75]) and experiencing aches and pains (POR?=?1.29, 95% CI [1.01-1.64]). The odds of having hypertension were also elevated among those worrying about their own health (POR?=?1.65, 95% CI [1.30-2.06]) or about not having enough money (POR?=?1.27, 95% CI [1.01-1.6]). We observed an inverse association between O3 and hypertension. There was no interaction between psychosocial stressors and O3 on hypertension. CONCLUSION: Our findings add to the evidence of a positive association between individual and family stressors on hypertension among Hispanics and other racial/ethnic groups. Contrary to previous studies reporting positive associations, our results suggest that long-term exposure to O3 may be inversely related to prevalent hypertension. KEYWORDS: Air pollution; Hypertension; Mexican-origin Hispanics; Psychosocial stress

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Amal Rammah, Kristina Walker Whitworth, Inkyu Han, Wenyaw Chan, Maria D. Jimenez, Sara S. Strom, Melissa L. Bondy & Elaine Symanski