Background: Psychosocial stress is one important risk factor for myocardial infarction. Aim: The study was to assess the impact of the 2008- 2009 economic recession on myocardial infarction occurrences in different socioeconomic areas of Raritan Bay region, New Jersey. Materials and Methods: The patients, who were treated for acute myocardial infarction from January 2006 to June 2012, were grouped based on the average incomes of their residence districts in the Raritan Bay region. The Spearman Rank Correlation test was used to assess the correlation between the monthly occurrences of myocardial infarction and Dow Jones stock averages, as well as the correlation between the myocardial infarction occurrences and NJ State unemployment rates. Results: Among 1,491 cases that were identified, 990 cases resided in areas with income below the state average and 477 were from areas above the average. After the onset of the recession, the myocardial infarction occurrences trended up in the low-income area group but not in the high-income area group; and this increasing trend is correlated with the rise in NJ State unemployment rates but not with the changes in stock averages. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that unemployment contributed to an increased risk of myocardial infarction among the residents in low socioeconomic areas after the 2008-2009 economic recession.
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