Symptoms of depression and impaired endothelial function in healthy adolescent women

Lianne M. Tomfohr, Tara M. Martin, Gregory E. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Depression is related to increased morbidity and mortality from coronary heart disease (CHD), but the underlying mechanisms are unclear. One possibility is that depressive symptoms influence CHD pathogenesis by fostering endothelial dysfunction. To evaluate this possibility, we studied one hundred and two adolescent women with no known or suspected major health problems. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and endothelial function with a non-invasive beat-to-beat plethysmographic recording of the finger arterial pulse-wave amplitude (PWA) before and after occlusion of the brachial artery. Regression analysis revealed a significant inverse relationship between depressive symptoms and endothelial function. This persisted after controlling for age, ethnicity, health practices and waist circumference. Depression explained 4-6% of the variance in endothelial function above and beyond the effects of covariates. Most patients in our sample had subclinical depressive symptoms, suggesting that even mild affective difficulties are capable of negatively influencing endothelial function in otherwise healthy youngsters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-143
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2008


  • Adolescent
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Depression
  • Endothelial function
  • Females

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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