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Depressive symptoms and survival of patients with coronary artery disease.

15 Aug
In a huge study by Duke’s John Barefoot, PhD and his team, 1250 cardiac patients with coronary artery disease were assessed over a span of nearly 20 years for their levels of depression, to see if the degree of depression correlated in any way with mortality rates, and, if so, which features packed an especially mean punch. (Other research had already established the connection between depression and heart disease, but this study was designed to tease out what elements did the damage.)

The study showed that depressive symptoms did indeed predict survival. The risk of death increased by 40% for patients with negative affect, which meant downheartedness, sadness, irritability and restlessness. When negative affect was found in younger patients - under 51 mortality risk increased to a whopping 70%.

The other potent predictor of mortality was hopelessness.

Citation: Barefoot J, et al. Depressive symptoms and survival of patients with coronary artery disease. Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine. 2000 Nov-Dec; 62(6):790-5
Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award