A new look at personality and heart attacks

July 7, 2014

A new study published in the current issue of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics has addressed the relationship between personality and heart attacks. Distressed (type D) personality (TDP), characterized by high negative affectivity (NA) and social inhibition (SI), along with depression, anxiety and other negative affects (such as demoralization, hopelessness, pessimism and rumination) have been implicated as potential risk factors for coronary artery disease. While some evidence suggests that the NA dimension of TDP overlaps at least partially with depression, other studies underline how 'TDP refers to a chronic, more covert form of distress that is distinct from depression'.

In this study, Authors aimed to clarify whether, among never at their first (ACS), there is an overlap between the constructs of TDP and , evaluating the stability of NA and SI 6 months after the ACS, and their relationship with depressive symptoms. Patients consecutively admitted to the Coronary Intensive Care Unit of the University Hospital of Parma between January 2009 and March 2012 who had their first ACS and no history of major depression (MD) or other psychiatric disorders, were included.

During the follow-up period 30 developed (MD: n = 12; minor depression (md): n = 18), whereas 220 subjects maintained a nondepressive condition throughout the study period. At baseline the NA and SI levels were higher in subjects who developed depression than in patients who did not. However, at the baseline evaluation 19 patients without previous depressive episodes already satisfied the criteria for md. Interestingly, at baseline these subjects showed higher levels of NA and SI than subjects without md. Among patients who developed depression (n = 30) HADS scores significantly changed during the 6-month follow-up: both scores increased from baseline to the second month of follow-up and then decreased. The same pattern of change was observed for the NA score, whereas the SI score did not vary during follow-up. In nondepressed patients, both HADS depression and anxiety scores and NA score significantly decreased throughout the follow-period, whereas the SI did not change.

In this study, the overlap between depressive psychopathology and NA features is suggested by the course of these two dimensions over time. Indeed, in both depressed and nondepressed patients, NA levels were not stable during the 6-month follow-up, but they changed along with the variation of HADS scores. This finding suggests that the NA dimension is sensitive to mood-state, because its levels increase and decrease according to the fluctuation of severity of depressive and anxious symptoms. This result supports the view that the disposition to experience and report negative emotions (NA) can be sensitive to mood-state. Therefore, the presence of depressive state is crucial when assessing TDP, since NA and anhedonic depression are partially overlapping and co-varying constructs.

Explore further: Does depression require hospitalization?

More information: Marchesi C, Ossola P, Scagnelli F, Paglia F, Aprile S, Monici A, Tonna M, Conte G, Masini F, De Panfilis C, Ardissino D. Type D Personality in Never Depressed Patients at Their First Acute Coronary Syndrome. Psychother Psychosom 2014;83:190-191 (DOI: 10.1159/000358525)

Related Stories

Does depression require hospitalization?

July 7, 2014
A study published in the current issue of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics has analyzed the difference between day hospital and inpatient stay in depression. Depending on the severity of depression, patients may be treated ...

Major depression linked with nearly twice the risk of kidney failure in diabetics

March 27, 2014
Major depression may increase diabetes patients' risk of developing kidney failure, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN). Additional studies ...

Could depression be treated with Botox?

April 1, 2014
In the largest randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study to date on the effect of OnabotulinumtoxinA (as known as Botox) on depression, researchers found that more than half of subjects suffering from moderate to ...

Physical inactivity after cardiac surgery linked with substantially higher risk of depression

December 19, 2013
New research indicates that inactive patients following cardiac surgery have a substantially higher risk of depression and that the number of patients suffering from depression after cardiac surgery is as high as 40%. Investigators ...

Depression risk drops from pre- to post-final period

November 14, 2013
(HealthDay)—There is a higher risk of depression before and a lower risk after the final menstrual period (FMP), according to a study published online Nov. 13 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Lack of nutrients and metabolic syndrome linked to different subtypes of depression

November 26, 2012
A low intake of folate and vitamin B12 increases the risk of melancholic depressive symptoms, according to a study among nearly 3,000 middle-aged and elderly Finnish subjects. On the other hand, non-melancholic depressive ...

Recommended for you

Many kinds of happiness promote better health, study finds

July 21, 2017
A new study links the capacity to feel a variety of upbeat emotions to better health.

Study examines effects of stopping psychiatric medication

July 20, 2017
Despite numerous obstacles and severe withdrawal effects, long-term users of psychiatric drugs can stop taking them if they choose, and mental health care professionals could be more helpful to such individuals, according ...

Study finds gene variant increases risk for depression

July 20, 2017
A University of Central Florida study has found that a gene variant, thought to be carried by nearly 25 percent of the population, increases the odds of developing depression.

In making decisions, are you an ant or a grasshopper?

July 20, 2017
In one of Aesop's famous fables, we are introduced to the grasshopper and the ant, whose decisions about how to spend their time affect their lives and future. The jovial grasshopper has a blast all summer singing and playing, ...

Perceiving oneself as less physically active than peers is linked to a shorter lifespan

July 20, 2017
Would you say that you are physically more active, less active, or about equally active as other people your age?

Old antibiotic could form new depression treatment

July 19, 2017
An antibiotic used mostly to treat acne has been found to improve the quality of life for people with major depression, in a world-first clinical trial conducted at Deakin University.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.