Change in urinary cortisol excretion mediates the effect of angry/hostile mood on 9 month diastolic blood pressure in HIV+ adults

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Cardiovascular disease is a growing concern in HIV disease management and nearly 1 out of 3 persons living with the virus is hypertensive. Biobehavioral factors such as anger, hostility, and HPA axis reactivity are emperically linked to blood pressure regulation. Whether HPA axis or mood disturbance increases risk for hypertension remains unclear in HIV disease. The aim of this study was to determine whether 9-month change in angry/hostile mood predicts alterations in systolic (SBP) or diastolic blood pressure (DBP), and whether this change is mediated by 24-h urinary cortisol (CORT) output. Sixty-one HIV positive adults, aged 41.1 ± 8.6 years, assigned to the control condition of a stress management intervention provided blood samples, 24-h urine specimens, blood pressure in-office, and self-reported mood at baseline and a 9-month follow-up. CORT was tested as a mediator in two separate models controlling for baseline BP, CD4 count, HIV-1 viral load, protease inhibitor use, body mass index, smoking status, and family history of cardiometabolic disease. Increase in angry/hostile mood was associated with greater SBP (β = 0.33, CI 0.09, 0.56, p = 0.01) and DBP (β = 0.39, CI 0.16, 0.62, p < 0.001) at follow-up. CORT partially mediated the effect of angry/hostile mood on DBP (β = 0.28, CI 0.03, 0.54, p = 0.03). Change in CORT was not related to SBP (β = 0.12, CI −0.20, 0.44, p = 0.46). The final mediation model accounted for 41.2% of the variance in 9-month DBP. Angry or hostile mood may contribute to increased risk for hypertension in persons treated for HIV via disturbance of the HPA-axis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
StateAccepted/In press - Feb 2 2017



  • Anger
  • Anti-retroviral therapy
  • Blood pressure
  • Cortisol
  • Hostility
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus
  • Mood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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