Table of Contents
Cardiovascular Psychiatry and Neurology
Volume 2012, Article ID 875876, 9 pages
Clinical Study

Ways of Coping and Biomarkers of an Increased Atherothrombotic Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Elderly Individuals

1Division of Psychosomatic Medicine, Department of General Internal Medicine, Bern University Hospital and University of Bern, 3010 Bern, Switzerland
2Department of Psychiatry, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0680, USA
3Department of Medicine, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92103-8341, USA
4San Diego State University Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, University of California San Diego, San Diego, CA 92093, USA
5Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0817, USA

Received 6 April 2012; Accepted 22 May 2012

Academic Editor: Heimo ViinamaKi

Copyright © 2012 Roland von Känel et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. To investigate the relationship between coping and atherothrombotic biomarkers of an increased cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in the elderly. Methods. We studied 136 elderly caregiving and noncaregiving men and women who completed the Ways of Coping Checklist to assess problem-focused coping, seeking social support (SSS), blamed self, wishful thinking, and avoidance coping. They had circulating levels of 12 biomarkers measured. We also probed for potential mediator and moderator variables (chronic stress, affect, health behavior, autonomic activity) for the relation between coping and biomarkers. Results. After controlling for demographic and CVD risk factors, greater use of SSS was associated with elevated levels of serum amyloid A ( ), C-reactive protein (CRP) ( ), vascular cellular adhesion molecule (VCAM)-1 ( ), and D-dimer ( ). There were several moderator effects. For instance, greater use of SSS was associated with elevated VCAM-1 ( ) and CRP ( ) levels in subjects with low levels of perceived social support and positive affect, respectively. The other coping styles were not significantly associated with any biomarker. Conclusions. Greater use of SSS might compromise cardiovascular health through atherothrombotic mechanisms, including elevated inflammation (i.e., serum amyloid A, CRP, VCAM-1) and coagulation (i.e., D-dimer) activity. Moderating variables need to be considered in this relationship.