Gender as a moderator in the relationship between anxiety and carotid intima-media thickness: The PREVENCION study

Diana Andrea Chirinos Medina*, Belissa Salinas-Najarro, Roberto Paz-Manrique, Zubair Khan, Waheed Raja, Francisco Ibañez, Fernando Corrales-Medina, Humberto Zea-Diaz, Julio A. Chirinos, Josefina Medina-Lezama

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Previous studies regarding the association of atherosclerotic risk and anxiety have yielded conflicting results. Carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) is an early marker of subclinical atherosclerosis and an independent predictor of cardiovascular risk. We aimed to determine the relationship between anxiety and cIMT in Andean Hispanics and examine the moderating effects of gender in this relationship. Methods: We studied 496 adults enrolled in a population-based study in Peru. cIMT was measured with high-resolution ultrasonography. Anxiety levels were assessed with the HADS anxiety score. Results: Median anxiety scores were 6 (IQR = 4-8) in men and 8 (IQR = 5-11) in women. We found a significant moderating effect of gender on the association between the HADS anxiety score and cIMT. Among men, the HADS anxiety score was significantly associated with cIMT (β = 0.15; P = 0.004) after adjusting for age, education, employment status, SBP, DBP, fasting glucose, diabetes mellitus, smoking and LDL cholesterol. Other significant predictors of cIMT in men were age (β = 0.60; P < 0.001), SBP (β = 0.16; P = 0.023) and diabetes mellitus (β = 0.12; P = 0.033). The model explained 54% of the population variability in cIMT. The HADS anxiety score was not associated with cIMT in women. Conclusions: We found an important moderating effect of gender in the relationship between anxiety and subclinical atherosclerosis. Anxiety was independently associated with subclinical atherosclerosis among Andean Hispanic men, whereas no relationship was found among women. Further studies are required to assess the mechanistic determinants of this association and assess whether interventions to decrease anxiety levels retard the progression of early, subclinical atherosclerosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)60-66
Number of pages7
JournalArtery Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2013


  • Andean Hispanics
  • Anxiety
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Carotid intima-media thickness
  • Latin America

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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