Frequency of private spiritual activity and cardiovascular risk in postmenopausal women: The Women's Health Initiative

Elena Salmoirago-Blotcher, George Fitchett, Kathleen M. Hovey, Eliezer Schnall, Cynthia Thomson, Christopher A. Andrews, Sybil Crawford, Mary Jo O'Sullivan, Stephen Post, Rowan T. Chlebowski, Judith Ockene

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: Spirituality has been associated with better cardiac autonomic balance, but its association with cardiovascular risk is not well studied. We examined whether more frequent private spiritual activity was associated with reduced cardiovascular risk in postmenopausal women enrolled in the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study. Methods: Frequency of private spiritual activity (prayer, Bible reading, and meditation) was self-reported at year 5 of follow-up. Cardiovascular outcomes were centrally adjudicated, and cardiovascular risk was estimated from proportional hazards models. Results: Final models included 43,708 women (mean age, 68.9 ± 7.3 years; median follow-up, 7.0 years) free of cardiac disease through year 5 of follow-up. In age-adjusted models, private spiritual activity was associated with increased cardiovascular risk (hazard ratio [HR], 1.16; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.02-1.31 for weekly vs. never; HR, 1.25; 95% CI, 1.11-1.40 for daily vs. never). In multivariate models adjusted for demographics, lifestyle, risk factors, and psychosocial factors, such association remained significant only in the group with daily activity (HR, 1.16; 95% CI, 1.03-1.30). Subgroup analyses indicate this association may be driven by the presence of severe chronic diseases. Conclusions: Among aging women, higher frequency of private spiritual activity was associated with increased cardiovascular risk, likely reflecting a mobilization of spiritual resources to cope with aging and illness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-245
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Epidemiology
Volume23
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2013

Keywords

  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Spirituality
  • Women's health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

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    Salmoirago-Blotcher, E., Fitchett, G., Hovey, K. M., Schnall, E., Thomson, C., Andrews, C. A., Crawford, S., O'Sullivan, M. J., Post, S., Chlebowski, R. T., & Ockene, J. (2013). Frequency of private spiritual activity and cardiovascular risk in postmenopausal women: The Women's Health Initiative. Annals of Epidemiology, 23(5), 239-245. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annepidem.2013.03.002