Abstract 2845: Anger, Depression And Anxiety Are Associated With Endothelial Function In Childhood
Introduction Psychological factors are associated with raised risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in adults. However it is not known whether this association is present already in children.
Hypothesis We wanted to test if reactive hyperemia peripheral arterial tonometry (RH-PAT) - a measure of endothelial function predictive of CVD in adults - is associated with self-assessed psychological health in school children.
Methods 248 children (age 14.5±1.0, 136 girls, 112 boys) underwent RH-PAT testing. They completed the Beck Youth Inventories of Emotional and Social Impairment scales (BYI), used to screen for depression, anxiety, anger, disruptive behaviour, and self-perception in children.
Results No sex difference was observed for the RH-PAT score (1.82±0.55, n=248). Girls had statistically significant higher BYI scores for depression, anger and anxiety than boys. Among girls there were statistically significant associations between lower RH-PAT scores and higher scores for anger (B coefficient = -0.100, p=0.040), depression (-0.108, p=0.009), and anxiety (-0.138, p=0.039), after adjustment for age. Among boys, disruptive behaviour was associated with higher RH-PAT scores (B coefficient 0.020, p=0.006). Boys had higher systolic blood pressure (110±9 vs. 108±8 mmHg, p=0.01) and lower diastolic blood pressure (57±6 vs. 60±5 mmHg, p<0.000) than girls. No sex differences were seen in BMI-z scores (0.48±1.1).
Conclusions Girls have higher levels of self assessed anger, depression and anxiety compared with boys, and these characteristics are associated with lower RH-PAT scores, indicating attenuated endothelial function. Among boys, disruptive behaviour was associated with better endothelial function. Psychological adversity in childhood might be a risk factor for subsequent cardiovascular disease.