An Evaluation of Perceived Health Risk and Depressive Symptoms before a Disaster in Predicting Postdisaster Inflammation

Kyle W. Murdock, Raymond P. Stowe, M. Kristen Peek, Savannah L. Lawrence, Christopher P. Fagundes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Objective Exposure to major life stressors is associated with subsequent enhanced inflammation-related disease processes. Depressive symptoms exacerbate stress-induced inflammatory responses. Moreover, those who report a high degree of perceived health risk before being exposed to a major life stressor such as a disaster are at risk for poor health outcomes. The present study examined whether perceived health risk and depressive symptoms before a disaster were associated with postdisaster inflammation markers. Methods The sample included 124 participants (mean [standard deviation] age = 55 [16] years; 69% women). At a baseline visit, participants completed self-report measures of perceived health risk and depressive symptoms (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale) in addition to a blood draw for the assessment of inflammation markers (C-reactive protein, tumor necrosis factor receptor 1, and interleukin 6). All participants lived near a large petrochemical complex where an unexpected explosion occurred. A second blood sample was obtained 2 to 6 months after the explosion. Results No significant differences in inflammation markers were found between predisaster and postdisaster assessment (p >.21). An interaction between predisaster perceived health risk and depressive symptoms in predicting postdisaster circulating inflammation markers was identified (Cohen f 2 = 0.051). Specifically, predisaster perceived health risk was associated with postdisaster circulating inflammation markers if predisaster depressive symptoms were greater than 8.10 on the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. Conclusions These findings add to our understanding of the complex interactions between stress, depression, and immune responses. Indeed, findings provide a potential mechanism (i.e., inflammation) explaining the association between exposure to major life stressors and negative mental and physical health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-54
Number of pages6
JournalPsychosomatic medicine
Volume80
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

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Disasters
Depression
Inflammation
Health
Explosions
Epidemiologic Studies
Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptors
C-Reactive Protein
Self Report
Interleukin-6
Mental Health

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

Murdock, Kyle W. ; Stowe, Raymond P. ; Peek, M. Kristen ; Lawrence, Savannah L. ; Fagundes, Christopher P. / An Evaluation of Perceived Health Risk and Depressive Symptoms before a Disaster in Predicting Postdisaster Inflammation. In: Psychosomatic medicine. 2018 ; Vol. 80, No. 1. pp. 49-54.
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An Evaluation of Perceived Health Risk and Depressive Symptoms before a Disaster in Predicting Postdisaster Inflammation. / Murdock, Kyle W.; Stowe, Raymond P.; Peek, M. Kristen; Lawrence, Savannah L.; Fagundes, Christopher P.

In: Psychosomatic medicine, Vol. 80, No. 1, 01.01.2018, p. 49-54.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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N2 - Objective Exposure to major life stressors is associated with subsequent enhanced inflammation-related disease processes. Depressive symptoms exacerbate stress-induced inflammatory responses. Moreover, those who report a high degree of perceived health risk before being exposed to a major life stressor such as a disaster are at risk for poor health outcomes. The present study examined whether perceived health risk and depressive symptoms before a disaster were associated with postdisaster inflammation markers. Methods The sample included 124 participants (mean [standard deviation] age = 55 [16] years; 69% women). At a baseline visit, participants completed self-report measures of perceived health risk and depressive symptoms (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale) in addition to a blood draw for the assessment of inflammation markers (C-reactive protein, tumor necrosis factor receptor 1, and interleukin 6). All participants lived near a large petrochemical complex where an unexpected explosion occurred. A second blood sample was obtained 2 to 6 months after the explosion. Results No significant differences in inflammation markers were found between predisaster and postdisaster assessment (p >.21). An interaction between predisaster perceived health risk and depressive symptoms in predicting postdisaster circulating inflammation markers was identified (Cohen f 2 = 0.051). Specifically, predisaster perceived health risk was associated with postdisaster circulating inflammation markers if predisaster depressive symptoms were greater than 8.10 on the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. Conclusions These findings add to our understanding of the complex interactions between stress, depression, and immune responses. Indeed, findings provide a potential mechanism (i.e., inflammation) explaining the association between exposure to major life stressors and negative mental and physical health outcomes.

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