Relationships between depression and anxiety symptoms scores and blood pressure in young adults

Sunil K Bhat, Lawrence J Beilin, Monique Robinson, Sally Burrows, Trevor A Mori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Depression and anxiety are risk factors for cardiovascular disease, but their relationship to blood pressure (BP) is less clear. Age-related comorbidity and lifestyle factors may confound these relationships. This study aimed to assess the relationships among BP, depression and anxiety symptom scores and self-reported history of depression in young adults.

METHOD: Data on 1014 participants aged 20 years from the Western Australian Cohort (Raine) Study were analyzed for cross-sectional associations between clinic BP and Depression, Anxiety, Stress Scale questionnaire scores or a reported history of depression, accounting for relevant confounders.

RESULTS: Multivariable adjusted analyses showed an inverse relationship between SBP with depression (coefficient = -0.10; P = 0.012) and anxiety (after excluding two outliers with SBP > 156 mmHg, coefficient = -0.13; P = 0.018) scores, independent of sex, BMI, female hormonal contraceptive use, alcohol consumption, birth weight and maternal hypertension in pregnancy. SBP was 1.6 mmHg lower for 2 SD (16 units) increase in depression score. There was an inverse association between self-reported history of depression (15.8% of participants) and SBP (coefficient = -1.91; P = 0.023), with an interaction with increasing BMI (interaction coefficient = -0.43; P = 0.002) enhancing this difference.

CONCLUSION: Our findings show that SBP in young adults is inversely associated with depression and anxiety scores, independent of a range of lifestyle confounders. Despite a positive association between BMI and BP, adiposity enhanced the inverse association between self-reported history of depression and SBP. These findings contrast with the predisposition of depressed participants to cardiovascular disease in later life when decades of unhealthy lifestyle changes may dominate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1983-1991
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Hypertension
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017


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