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BACKGROUND: Previous studies suggest a link between depression, anxiety and cardiovascular disease (CVD). The aim of the study was to determine the relationship between depressive and anxiety symptoms and CVD in a population based cohort. METHODS: In total 1578 men and 1,417 women from the Hertfordshire Cohort Study were assessed for CVD at baseline and after 5.9 ± 1.4 years. Depressive and anxiety symptoms were measured using the HADS scale. RESULTS: Baseline HAD-D score, but not HAD-A, was significantly associated with baseline plasma triglycerides, glucose and insulin resistance (men only) and HDL cholesterol (women only). After adjustment for CVD risk factors, higher baseline HAD-D scores were associated with increased odds ratios for CVD (men: 1.162 [95% CI 1.096-1.231]; women: 1.107 [1.038-1.181]). Higher HAD-A scores associated with increased CVD in men only. High HAD-D scores predicted incident CVD (adjusted OR 1.130 [1.034-1.235]), all-cause mortality (adjusted HR 1.081, [1.012-1.154]) and cardiovascular mortality (adjusted HR 1.109 [1.002-1.229]) in men but not in women. LIMITATIONS: The use of a self-report measure of depressive and anxiety symptoms, 'healthy' responder bias and the low number of cardiovascular events are all limitations. CONCLUSIONS: Depressive and anxiety symptoms are commoner in people with CVD. These symptoms are independent predictors of CVD in men. Although HAD-D score was significantly associated with several cardiovascular risk factors, this did not fully explain the association between HAD-D and CVD.

Original publication




Journal article


J affect disord

Publication Date





84 - 90


Anxiety, Cardiovascular disease, Depression, Epidemiology, Population studies, Aged, Anxiety, Blood Glucose, Cardiovascular Diseases, Cholesterol, HDL, Cross-Sectional Studies, Depression, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Insulin Resistance, Male, Middle Aged, Odds Ratio, Psychiatric Status Rating Scales, Risk Factors, Self Report, Sex Distribution, Triglycerides, United Kingdom